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MIDEAST > Two-state solution at dead end: Israeli MP

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The idea of Palestinians establishing a state in the territory they seek has ‘reached a dead end,’ Israeli economoy minister says, in the latest blow to the renewed US-led peace push

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Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes at a protest against a nearby Israeli settlement in the West Bank village of Kfar Kadum. REUTERS photo

Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes at a protest against a nearby Israeli settlement in the West Bank village of Kfar Kadum. REUTERS photo

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday the idea of a Palestinian state was at a “dead-end,” the latest Israeli official to speak out against the notion of a two-state solution.

“The idea that a Palestinian state will be founded within the Land of Israel has reached a dead-end,” said Bennett, using the biblical term for Israel that includes the West Bank.

‘This is our home’

“Never, in the history of Israel, have so many people put so much energy into something so pointless,” he said during a Yesha council settler conference in Jerusalem, in remarks carried by public radio.

“The most important thing for the Land of Israel is to build, and build, and build,” said Bennett, who heads the hard line nationalist Jewish Home party. He added that central to the problem was the reluctance of Israel’s leadership to simply insist that the West Bank belongs to “the people of Israel.”

“There was never a Palestinian state here, and we were never occupiers, this is our home.”

Bennett, who in the past headed the Yesha council, a leading settler organization and was voted into the Knesset this January, has consistently voiced his opposition to the two-state solution.

Bennett’s remarks come after Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, rejected in an interview earlier this month with The Times of Israel the notion that the government was serious about reaching a peace agreement that would lead to a two-state solution.

‘Radical beliefs’


Following Danon’s interview, Netanyahu last week reiterated his commitment to a Palestinian state, saying he and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will “try to make progress to find the opening for negotiations with the Palestinians, with the goal of reaching an agreement.”

The Palestinians’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, condemned Benett’s remarks. “These are not isolated events but a reaffirmation of political platforms and radical beliefs. Israel has officially declared the death of the two-state solution,” he said.

June/18/2013

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