'Palestinian entity cannot be formed'
Gil Hoffman , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 26, 2009
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon, who is very close to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, ruled out the creation of any "Palestinian entity" at a
conference at the Knesset entitled "Alternatives to the Two-State Outlook."
The conference, organized by Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely, was purposely timed to
coincide with the aftermath of Netanyahu's meeting in Washington with US
President Barack Obama, amid speculation ahead of Obama's key speeches to
the Muslim world and the quartet next month. The event was intended to send
a message that opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state was common
among mainstream Israelis and politicians not considered extremist.
In his address, Ya'alon outlined why every diplomatic process with the
Palestinians had failed so far and why efforts to find a solution to the
conflict must stop. He said the best that could be done now was to manage
the conflict, rather than solve it, by encouraging reforms and economic
development in the Palestinian Authority.
"I do not see any chance of establishing a viable Palestinian entity in
Judea and Samaria and/or the Gaza Strip that could sustain itself
economically," Ya'alon said. "The gap between Israel as a First-World
country and a Palestinian Third-World country is a recipe for instability. I
also don't see a chance to form a viable Palestinian entity in Judea and
Samaria and/or the Gaza Strip that could bring stability on the security
front, while chances the entity would be adversarial are very high."
Ya'alon instead suggested educational, economic, political, police and
military reforms for the PA, while cooperating with Arab countries on issues
like the humanitarian plight of Palestinians who consider themselves
refugees. But he said even this could not take place without a responsible
and able Palestinian leadership that would recognize Israel as a Jewish
Netanyahu's former bureau chief, Uri Elitzur, surprised people at the event
when he said that the best possible option was the annexation of the entire
West Bank, despite the danger of Israel eventually becoming a bi-national
state. He said that solution was preferable to withdrawing from Judea and
Samaria or continuing the current situation.
"While everyone has been saying for years that annexation was the worst
option, we have tried everything else, so I think annexation is actually the
most right plan," Elitzur said. "I would give citizenship to every
Palestinian. There is no difference between Palestinians in Jenin and
Elitzur, who is currently an editor at the Makor Rishon newspaper, said he
did not fear demographic problems, but that Israel first needed to draft a
constitution formally enacting that Israel would always remain a Jewish
state. He said Israel should start governing and investing throughout the
Asked what Netanyahu thought about his plan, Elitzur said that although he
was still friends with the prime minister, "Bibi doesn't agree with me, and
really no one else does either."
Other plans presented at the conference called for a confederation between
the West Bank and Jordan, and the extension of the Gaza Strip into the
Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert. Proponents of the ideas included former
national security council head Giora Eiland, former Council of Jewish
Communities in Judea and Samaria director-general Adi Mintz and an aide to
former National Union chairman Benny Elon.
Also Tuesday, President Shimon Peres sent a warm letter to Jordanian King
Abdullah, congratulating him on his country's 63rd year of independence and
expressing hope for regional peace.
"Israel places a great deal of importance on its relations with Jordan, and
we trust, your majesty, that under your leadership, these relations will
continue to strengthen and flourish in the future," Peres wrote.