A two-state solution is not part of the Likud platform, MK Tzipi Hotovely declared Monday at a panel discussion in Jerusalem, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 speech calling for one was a tactical maneuver to placate the world and not an expression of support.
“We are opposed to a Palestinian state,” the Likud politician said.
Referring to Netanyahu’s statement in June 2009 at Bar-Ilan University that “we do not want to rule over [the Palestinians]” and that he envisioned “two free peoples living side by side in this small land,” Hotovely said Netanyahu delivered “a tactical speech for the rest of the world.
“The Bar-Ilan speech was a tactical speech” that sought Palestinian guarantees of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for territory, she reiterated. The Likud party, she asserted, will do everything possible to protect every West Bank settlement.
Hotovely’s comments triggered an uproar by members of the crowd, some of whom called Netanyahu a liar.
Last week Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni criticized Netanyahu’s “lip service” to the international community in support of a two-state solution in the Bar-Ilan speech.
Hotovely also dismissed a report Maariv published earlier on Monday that Netanyahu would reinstate resigned defense minister Ehud Barak after the elections. The paper reported that members of the Likud suspected that Netanyahu would ask Barak to stay in the Defense Ministry.
A senior Likud minister told Maariv that the possibility that Barak would serve as defense minister in the next government “is likely to give us an additional drop” in the polls.