Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has called for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
In an interview on Sunday with Israel radio, the leader of the far right Jewish Home Party (HaBayit HaYehudi) stated that: “I favour implementing Israeli sovereignty over the region, which is inhabited by 400,000 Israeli settlers and only 70,000 Arabs.”
Bennett noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has no control over the Gaza Strip, and therefore cannot be considered a partner in the negotiations in the full sense of the word: “This is all a joke. It’s as if we’re discussing the purchase of a car with only half of its owners,” he added.
Israeli statements contradict Kerry’s statements
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon also said on Saturday that Israel has no partner from the Palestinian side to negotiate with: “There is no partner on the Palestinian side to reach a two-state solution for two peoples.”
Earlier, on Friday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed doubts about the likelihood of achieving any progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which resumed under US auspices last July, saying that: “There is zero trust between Israel and the Palestinians.”
These sentiments contrasted sharply with the statements recently made by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who voiced optimism at the end of his visit to Israel on 6 December, telling the international media that: “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve.”