Anyone trying to justify that Likud sincerely wants two states for two peoples, Israel for the Jews and Palestine for the Palestinians, is lying through their teeth. Several senior Likud ministers who attended the Jerusalem conference “Application of Israeli Sovereignty of Judea and Samaria” on Tuesday night openly called for the annexation of the West Bank.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said “We would say loud and clear that we have the right — we applied sovereignty. Looking ahead, we can start searching for ways to co-exist. Of course we recognize that another people lives here and we need to find a modus operandi for living together.” Is Edelstein forgetting that to remain the only real democracy in the Middle East the absorbed Palestinians would need to be given full rights, including the right to vote, and equality under the law? I find it hard to believe he hasn’t thought about that. He probably just doesn’t value democracy as much as he does the messianic greater Israel dream, something which is increasingly fantasized by the Israeli right.
Prime Minister Netanyahu claims he doesn’t share these views, but his own party members believe otherwise. “Even when the prime minister spoke about the issue of two states, he didn’t speak about a state in the full sense. He spoke about a long range of conditions that he himself says there is no chance that they will be fulfilled in the near future due to the actions of the other side,” said Likud MK Yariv Levin at the conference.Over the last month Netanyahu approved the construction of thousands of settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. “With God’s help we will continue to live and build in Jerusalem, which shall remain united under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said. “In recent years we did much to strengthen settlements [in the West Bank], and we will continue to act to strengthen the settlements.”
The two-state solution is on life support, and it is crucial that Israeli leadership help keep the idea alive. Israeli democracy, one where Jews are the overwhelming majority, depends on it. Unfortunately, the Netanyahu administration (and virtually all the right-of-center parties), which at the current moment is favored to win the upcoming Israeli election, seems determined to kill it.