Sheetrit: It's wise and worthwhile to give up the dream of a Greater Israel

Interior minister says failure to form Livni-led gov't "lost opportunity" for reaching peace deal by 2010.

sheetrit big head 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
sheetrit big head 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) told members of the Foreign Press Association at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Monday that according to the polls it looked as though Likud would be forming the next government. Sheetrit, Kadima's campaign manager, said it was a pity that party leader Tzipi Livni had been unable to form government and called it "a lost opportunity" for reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians by 2010. Sheetrit warned that the peace process would stop if Likud won the elections because Netanyahu had already made it clear that Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley were not on the agenda for peace negotiations. "There will be no chance to make peace with Syria or the Palestinians," said Sheetrit. "There will be no peace and no Palestinian state," he added. Speaking of the Annapolis program, he said it was "not the path to peace." At best, he said, it could lead to a shelf agreement. Annapolis called for the Palestinians to stop terror activities, he noted, "and I can't see them doing that." A keen proponent of the Saudi initiative, he said it was an opportunity to finalize an agreement with all the Arab states "for the same price as we're paying for peace with the Palestinians. The Saudi option is better than all the other options on the table." He attributed the willingness of the Arab states to go along with the Saudi initiative to their understanding that Iran's nuclear ambitions could result in the export of radical Islam to their countries. Barely mentioning Labor in his address, Sheetrit discounted the party as "irrelevant." When asked where he hoped to put an ever increasing Israeli population which is more than twice the size of that of 1967 if Israel were to return to the 1967 borders, Sheetrit replied that there was plenty of room in the Negev and the Galilee. "I prefer a smaller territory with a Jewish majority," he said. "It is wise and worthwhile to give up the dream of a greater Israel. We don't need a greater Israel. We need peace, because peace will guarantee security on both sides." Sheetrit also called on Likud to give a clearly negative answer to Shas's demand that it be given the Education portfolio should it win the elections. It would be a disaster, he said, to give the education portfolio to a party that taught its children not to serve in the army. "We cannot sacrifice education on the altar of the elections."