Daily Israel Report

Akunis: '67 Borders' Like Jumping Off a Skyscraper

An Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders is equivalent to suicide, says Likud Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/16/2014, 4:19 AM

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

Withdrawing to the indefensible pre-1967 borders is like jumping off a skyscraper, Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said on Saturday.

Speaking in Ramat Gan, Akunis predicted that in the upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, the two will agree to extend the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for one more year.

“An Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders is like a suicidal person jumping off the roof of the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv,” he said, referring to the 49-floor skyscraper in the central Israeli city.

“This was never Likud policy - and will never be," added Akunis.

One of the PA’s long-standing preconditions for peace is an Israeli withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War. Withdrawing to these borders, which former Foreign Minister Abba Eban referred to as the “Auschwitz borders”, would place central Israel, including the Ben Gurion Airport, under the threat of missiles and would guarantee Israel’s destruction.

The PA has been blaming Israel for the lack of progress in talks, which resumed last summer after nearly three years.

In a radio interview last week, chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to “to tell his people, to prepare his people for what is needed, yes, and to say, 1-9-6-7. That’s what he needs to say.”

On Friday, Erekat reiterated the PA’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking to members of the Palestinian Arab community in London, Erekat said that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made it clear to the Americans that he would not recognize Israel a Jewish state, claiming that Israel's demand for recognition stems from its desire to change historical facts.

He further noted that Abbas will not agree that any Israeli civilians or military officials remain in the future Palestinian state.