Knesset speaker: Palestinian state is not on the agenda

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Israel is not going to discuss a Palestinian state.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Outgoing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that the issue of a Palestinian state is not up for discussion.

“A Palestinian state is not on the agenda,” Edelstein said. “Removing the idea of a Palestinian state from the world’s agenda could take 20 years, but to put it back on the agenda will take 20 seconds,” he added, speaking at the B’Sheva Jerusalem Conference.

He called on his colleagues to “be responsible” by setting up a joint list of different parties with similar ideologies to fight efforts by the likes of former Israeli military chief Benny Gantz, whose new Israel Resilience has already taken in another party lead by another former IDF chief-of-staff, Moshe Ya’alon, to run together in the April election. Gantz is hoping to make further combinations.

According to public opinion polls, the Gantz-led list poses the only real threat to the Likud.

“Compromise and unite,” said Edelstein in his remarks at the conference. “We must all be responsible for maintaining the national camp: a broad camp led by the Likud and a small number of coalition partners which properly represent the religious Zionist agenda,” he added.

Edelstein finished first in last week’s Likud party primary, putting him behind only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the party list for the upcoming Knesset ballot. Edelstein’s success came despite a lack of support from the prime minister in the lead-up to the primary.

Netanyahu also failed to dissuade Likud voters from choosing a bitter rival of the premier in the primary, former interior and education minister Gideon Sa’ar. Sa’ar finished just a few spots behind Edelstein.

Because of his strong showing, Edelstein is not expected to demand a senior cabinet portfolio, rather than remain as Knesset speaker, even though the position has influence in determining the parliamentary agenda.

Netanyahu says that he will be discussing a potential unity ticket with smaller right-wing parties as the deadline approaches for submitting the lists to Israel’s Central Elections Committee.