No Palestinian state under current Israeli gov’t, Shaked insists

Keeping the current status quo is preferable to handing the Palestinians a state with their own army, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said. 

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News

Israel’s current coalition government will not allow a two-state solution in which the Palestinians are handed their own state, Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked declared.

The question came up as the current government yokes together a disparate group of parties, including Prime Minster Naftali Bennett’s nationalist Yamina (Right), to which Shaked belongs, and the Islamic Ra’am Party, which holds that the Palestinians should be granted a state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Speaking to UAE-based media outlet The National on Tuesday, Shaked said that a two-state solution is not on the table, also ruling out any land-for-peace deals.

“We have known first-hand that from every territory we withdraw, a terror organization will spring up. It happened in South Lebanon where Hezbollah is ruling and funded by Iran, and having thousands of missiles pinpointed at Israel,” she said.

“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.”

Making it clear that she believes the status quo is preferable, she added: “The current situation is the best for everyone… We do believe in economic peace to improve Palestinian lives and to do mutual industrial zones. But not a state with an army, definitely.”

Under Bennett, the Israeli government has pivoted away from discussing possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict directly, with the matter notably absent from Bennett’s recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Instead, despite Defense Minster Benny Gantz and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in recent weeks, the government has preferred to emphasize the progress made on relations with other Arab states.

Describing the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan as “role models,” Shaked said: “Everyone has seen the benefits of the peace [between the UAE and Israel], mainly at the economic, tourism and technology levels.”

The interview also touched upon the government’s recent focus on tackling crime in the Israeli Arab sector, during which Shaked admitted that the Israeli government believes some 400,000 illegal weapons are in the hands of Arab-Israeli gangs.

“There’s a serious problem of criminalization in the Israeli cities with large Arab populations. It’s an Israeli Arabs against Israeli Arabs phenomenon. There are gangs, drug dealers and illegal weapons, including those purchased as toys from online stores like Amazon and then improvised into real weapons. Gangs are also stealing weapons from the military,” she said.

On Sunday, Bennett chaired a high-level, cross-ministerial meeting to spearhead an initiative to drive down crime in the Arab sector, but Shaked conceded that more needs to be done.

“This is one of the topics I have discussed during my visit here in Abu Dhabi. There was a cabinet meeting before my visit and we have decided to give this issue first and foremost priority and the resources needed to curb the surge in crime in Israeli cities that have large Arab populations,” she said.

“Abu Dhabi is one of the safest cities in the world, and I’m sure we can learn from one another.”