Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua) slammed Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Saturday, after Danon spoke out against a two-state solution to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict, and said that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu brings the issue of a Palestinian state to a vote in the government, nobody will vote in favor.
"Anyone who tries to bury the idea of two states gives life to the idea of a binational state and endangers the future of Zionism,” Peretz said Saturday night.
“Hatnua joined the government to promote the negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution and we will continue to do so,” he added.
On Thursday, Danon told the Times of Israel that “there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution. 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.”
“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.
Netanyahu’s office was quick to distance itself from Danon’s statements, saying on Saturday they “do not represent the position of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel.”
The head of Peretz’s party, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, has been placed in charge of the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which broke down in 2010, because its Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused to negotiate with Israel even though it agreed to his precondition and froze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem for 10 months.
Instead, Abbas has continued to impose preconditions on talks with Israel, including a demand that Israel release terrorists who were jailed before 1993, freeze construction for a second time and even present a map of the future Palestinian state before any negotiations take place.
Livni said this week that delaying the “two-state solution” is an historical mistake.
Livni, who spoke at the American Jewish Committee 2013 Global Forum in Washington, D.C., warned of “devastating consequences” for Israel in case U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest attempt to renew peace talks fails.
"Time is working against those who believe that two states is the only Zionist way to maintain our identity," Livni said. "There are those who want to postpone this decision, but it would be an historic mistake of anyone who calls himself a Zionist."
Livni began her political career in the right of center Likud party, then moved to the left-centrist Kadima party with Ariel Sharon and when voted out of her position as its head, left the Knesset to return in the last elections with a new left-leaning party formed within a few days. The party, Hatnua, won six Knesset seats.
Peretz, who used to head the Labor party and served as Defense Minister during the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, defected from Labor to join Livni because of disagreements with Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich. Peretz defected just days after the members of the Labor party placed him in the number 3 spot on the party's list for the Knesset.