Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected talk of Israel being forced to withdraw from Jerusalem and the West Bank within two years, on the eve of a meeting with top US diplomat John Kerry.
Netanyahu, speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting a day before jetting to Rome for urgent consultations with Kerry, connected a Palestinian bid for a UN Security Council resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank to the threat of Islamic extremists in the region.
“We… stand against the possibility of a diplomatic assault, that is an attempt to compel us by means of UN decisions to withdraw to the 1967 lines within two years,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow this. We will strongly and responsibly rebuff this.”
Netanyahu said such a withdrawal now would bring “Islamic extremists to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem.”
He said he would raise the issue in Rome with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday.
“I will tell them that Israel, to a large degree, stands as a solitary island against the waves of Islamic extremism that are washing over the entire Middle East,” the Israeli premier said.
“Until now we have successfully withstood and repelled these attacks.”
The Palestinian leadership plans to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding the end of Israel’s presence in the West Bank by November 2016.
Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Palestinian radio Sunday that the Palestinian delegation to the UN would submit the proposal on Monday.
The Arab League has backed the text, but it ran into opposition from the United States, which has repeatedly vetoed resolutions seen as undermining Israel.
France stepped in last month to try to cobble together along with Britain and Germany a resolution that would win consensus at the 15-member council.
And the Palestinians have said they would like a draft resolution to go to a vote before the end of the year.
The text would call for a return to negotiations with a view to achieving a two-state solution by which Israel and a Palestinian state would co-exist.
Negotiations have hit hurdles over whether to include a two-year deadline for talks on a final settlement to be completed.