Minister Akunis: There is no occupation in our homeland

In an Arutz Sheva interview, Science Minister Ofir Akunis discussed American-Israeli relations,status of the PA and scientific cooperation.

Shimon Cohen,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

In an Arutz Sheva interview Science Minister Ofir Akonis discussed the diplomatic skirmishes between Israel and the US and the sharp words which passed between the prime minister and the American president and secretary of state.

Have all restraints had been removed and diplomatic speech discarded? Everything seems to be open and people can say what couldn't be said for eight years.

The Americans preceded us by a few days. It began with the awful decision not to veto the UN resolution and continued with the speech which confers on John Kerry honorable membership in the Meretz party. This is a mistaken policy which was here for the last eight years but remained dormant and now it has erupted like a volcano.

"There were ups and downs in this period, ups like the signing of the September Defense aid agreement and downs when the ridiculous building freeze distanced the Palestinians from the negotiating table, as well as Kerry's 2013 plan for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, a plan of which I was one of the chief opponents.

Kerry claimed that he was moved by a concern for Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, which would not be assured if it continued its settlement policy.

I really appreciate Kerry's concern for Israel's Jewish status and it's democracy but I suggest he show some concern for the other democracies in the region, which of course he won't find.

The lie of 'occupation' is also the fault of the Israeli right. I take responsibility for the fact that for many years we did not eliminate this lie. I have been trying to eliminate it since I was the Likud's spokesman. There is no occupation in our homeland! Had Israel said this after 67 this whole discussion would not exist now.

"Another important point not emphasized enough is that 97 percent of the Palestinians live under PA control and not Israeli control. We don't use this claim against the mendacious lies about occupation.

Wouldn't it be right for Israel to recognize the PA as a state and thus to ratify its rule over 98% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria?

There are many options for defining the status of the PA. When I stressed my opposition to a two state solution in my first speech in the Knesset in 2009, I was mocked. They said I was a man of yesterday. Apparently I'm a man of tomorrow, I anticipated what would happen. I will not give the Palestinians a state. It could be an autonomy, a broader autonomy, cantons, a federation etc. The concept of a 'Palestinian people' is a baseless Israeli invention. They are merely a bunch of tribes and not more than that.

I won't give up Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. This is my opinion and thankfully it has many proponents in the Israeli public

A nation does not give up its birthplace and does not volunteer terror bases to its enemies. The Palestinians are not capable of dialogue. They are enemies and should be defined as such. Besides this there are also security concerns. Do we want to place the children of Tel Aviv, Beersheva and Kfar Saba in danger of rocket and tunnel attacks? Why do we need this? Are we suicidal? No. So both from the ideological and security viewpoints I am opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Don't you as Science Minister see the importance of good relations with other nations as a fundamental aspect of building up Israeli science? Does the policy of punishing other European nations for supporting the vote against Israel not hurt that goal?

The world needs us. If the science ministers of China, India, Korea, Japan and others say they need to learn from us how to become a hi-tech nation, they need us more than we need them. We are discussing cooperation on cyberware, technology, robotics and other trailblazing fields which are maimly based on Israeli brains. They need us more trhat we need them. There has been no repercussions for the professional relationships we have with the world. While I was Science minister we have strengthened ties with many countries and renewed relations with Russia, India and China. The world respects strong governments and leaders who say their truth more than those who employ doublespeak and evasive language.




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