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Likud Deputy Minister: Kerry is 'Extreme' in Pressuring Israel

MK Ofir Akunis says 'large' Israeli concessions to US demands on peace deal will endanger coalition.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/5/2014, 6:53 PM

Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud Beytenu), a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said Sunday that US Secretary of State John Kerry has not yet submitted the American blueprint for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), but that if Israel agrees to “large scale concessions” in its positions, this will create a “tangible danger to the entire existence of the coalition.”

MK Akunis spoke to Arutz Sheva moments after taking part in a meeting in which Likud ministers were briefed on the diplomatic situation. He said that while Kerry has not yet submitted his peace plan, he could do so on his next visit, next week.

"The non-existence of the document is the result of a large and serious dispute between us and the US,” he explained. “The US expresses a consistent position, on its part, a position that will soon be 46 years old, of ending the conflict on the base of an Israeli retrea to the [pre-]1967 lines. We reject this position.

"My personal position is that we will never retreat to these lines. My position is opposition to the two-state paradigm and support for construction in the settlement enterprise, and for our right to the entire land of Israel.

"We have a dispute in the US with a secretary of state who delved into the matter in a very extreme way, both in his positions and in the way he pressures Israel. He certainly expresses positions that are not acceptable to Israel.”

Akunis added that while he is not party to the secret negotiations, he believes that there are American positions that no Israeli government, “and certainly not a Likud government and a government led by Netanyahu,” could agree to.

These unacceptable positions, he explained, include retreat from the Jordan Valley, uprooting hundreds of thousands of Israelis, continuing to free terrorist murderers and “even matters relating to Jerusalem.”

Regarding the Jordan Valley, Akunis was adamant: “No balloon and no satellite will prevent the entry of hundreds of thousands of weapons, including tanks and APCs, and an invasion from the east.” He mentioned the uncertainty regarding the future of Jordan, and the Al Qaeda presence ion Iraq, as further reasons why “a meaningful buffer” of Israeli military and civilians is needed in the Jordan Valley.