Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied Saturday that he is only pretending to seek a two-state solution, as Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon hinted broadly in a weekend interview.
Danon’s comments “do not represent the position of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel,” sources in the Prime Minister's Office told the Times of Israel in response to Danon’s interview, which the same news outlet published Thursday.
The sources said that the prime minister “is interested in a resumption of negotiations without preconditions,” and that his positions regarding support for a two-state solution remain in force.
“Look at the government: there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution,” Danon had said. “If you will bring it to a vote in the government — nobody will bring it to a vote, it’s not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.”
Danon said Netanyahu calls for peace talks despite his government’s opposition “because he knows Israel will never arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians,” the Times of Israel said (this phrase is not a quote from Danon, however, but from the reporter's account of what he said).
“Today we’re not fighting it [Netanyahu’s declared goal of a Palestinian state],” Danon said, “but if there will be a move to promote a two-state solution, you will see forces blocking it within the party and the government.”
The deputy minister said “there is no majority for a two-state solution” among the 31 lawmakers that make up the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu Knesset faction. The Likud party’s central committee passed a motion against the creation of a Palestinian state about 10 years ago, Danon added, and this means that the party legally was bound to oppose the idea of two states for two people.