Despite being branded an “apartheid state” that “promotes and perpetuates Jewish supremacy” Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has insisted that the current situation is “best for everyone” while rejecting the creation of a Palestinian state.
Shaked, a far-right member of the Knesset representing the Yamina party, made the remarks in an interview with The National during her first ever visit to the UAE earlier in the week, where she met with her counterpart and Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
“The current situation is the best for everyone,” Shaked said, adding: “It’s better to keep it that way.” The 45-year-old who was minister of justice, reportedly explained that there was consensus among the right-wing, leftist and centrist parties not to address the issue of ending Israel’s brutal occupation and conflict.
“We do believe in economic peace to improve Palestinian lives and to do mutual industrial zones. But not a state with an army, definitely,” Shaked explained mentioning what many believe has been the long-term goal of the Israeli right to neutralise global concerns over Israel’s land grab and ethnic cleansing through economic initiatives.
Shaked, who has been a fierce opponent of the two-state solution, dismissed the idea with the very familiar propaganda narrative used by Israel to justify its never-ending occupation. “We have known first-hand that from every territory we withdraw, a terror organisation will spring up,” she said. “It happened in South Lebanon where Hezbollah is ruling and funded by Iran and having thousands of missiles pinpointed at Israel.”
She also brushed aside Gaza’s dire humanitarian situation without mentioning that the enclave’s two million people, most of whom are refugees expelled by Israel, have been under a crippling siege since 2007.
“When we withdrew from Gaza, people were saying it would be another Monaco – but we know what happened there, Hamas took over the city turned it into a terror state. We will not repeat this experiment again,” said Shaked, extinguishing any hope of a Palestinian state.
Unlike most critics of the two-state solution, who see a democratic, one person one vote, as the only realistic option, the Israeli right which represents the overwhelming majority of the country’s population, offer no alternative other than the continuation of the apartheid like situation as described by many prominent human rights groups.
In April, the pre-eminent human rights organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) joined a host of other prominent groups to declare that Israel is committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution. Prior to that, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem branded Israel as an “apartheid” state that “promotes and perpetuates Jewish supremacy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.”
Shaked dismissed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas saying he was not a partner for genuine peace. “Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t held elections because he’s afraid to lose to Hamas. If there’s an election … Hamas will take over,” Shaked said.
Praising the UAE’s controversial normalisation with Israel, Shaked said: “Everyone has seen the benefits of the peace [between the UAE and Israel]; mainly at the economic, tourism and technology levels.”
It’s not clear what Abu Dhabi makes of Shaked’s remarks. Despite normalisation, the UAE has publicly maintained support for the creation of a Palestinian state and justified the normalisation deal saying that it would help to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine.