'We have a friend in the White House'

Deputy Foreign Minister believes the Trump administration understands that the most important issue right now is Iran.

Shimon Cohen ,

Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) spoke to Arutz Sheva on Sunday about the Trump administration’s peace plan as reported on Israeli media a day earlier.

The peace plan reportedly will include a Palestinian state and include land swaps, but not necessarily along the pre-1967 borders.

The plan would not include expelling Arabs or Jews from their homes. According to senior sources in Jerusalem, the subject of dividing Jerusalem has not been discussed.

Officials in the White House have indicated that the report was misleading and was simply recycling inaccurate information that had been reported previously.

Asked whether she believed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu favors the plan as reported, Hotovely replied, “The question is what the interest of the State of Israel is. There are three principles that we presented to the American administration, that in any future agreement we will not remove our sovereignty between the sea and the Jordan, that the idea of ​​uprooting Jewish communities does not exist and that Jerusalem will be united in any future arrangement.”

To the question of whether the Israeli government had indeed made it clear to the Americans that Israeli sovereignty would be preserved between the sea and the Jordan River, Hotovely said, “The prime minister defines this as military control between the sea and the Jordan. I can say that at the end of the day there is no military control without being the sovereign. That’s my interpretation.”

"I think that it is clear to all of us after 25 years of trying to negotiate that the problem between us and the Palestinians is not territorial. The story was their desire to flood the area with seven million refugees and bring about the end of the State of Israel. When this is the Palestinian perception and they are still a society that worships terror and is far from truly wanting peace, we are not in a place where we can reward them with a state,” she continued.

The right move, opined Hotovely, is to work on educating and disconnecting Palestinian society from support and encouragement for terror.

"A society that glorifies terrorism ultimately chooses terror organizations that will control it, like in Gaza," she said, but also stressed that she would still be against a Palestinian state even if this educational process succeeds.

“It is not right to establish a [Palestinian] state and it’s also impossible. Our goal is not a Palestinian state but peace with our neighbors, as is written in the Declaration of Independence. We are prepared to live with our neighbors in peace, but there is nothing between this desire and the establishment of a Palestinian state. It won’t satisfy the Palestinian side and will only endanger the Israeli side. What we need is long-term plans that deal with education, economic infrastructure, and how they develop economic independence,” continued Hotovely.

“I do not believe that a peace agreement is coming because of the gaps between us and our neighbors," she said. “They are not ready to recognize the very existence of the State of Israel. It is not a dispute over territory, and my opinion is that this [plan] is not the proper one.”

At the same time, Hotovely noted some positive points in the reported American outline.

"There is a government here that understands that uprooting settlements is not the solution. After years in which they put the entire weight on Israel and the issue of the settlements, they have taken this off the agenda and that’s a positive thing. On the other side I have always opposed a Palestinian state,” she said.

"We have a friend in the White House who understands the priorities. He understands that the number one issue is the Iranian issue and the change of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Focusing only on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is diverting attention from the most important issue at the moment, which is preventing the nuclearization of Iran and actions in support of terrorism that Iran is carrying out.”

"Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the message from the White House is that it will not impose an arrangement on the sides. In previous administrations there was a sense that they were imposing an arrangement and placing the emphasis on the Israeli side as responsible for not resolving the conflict. There is an American administration here that understands that the Palestinians are to blame, an American administration that understands that the Palestinians continue to support terrorism and which sets an ultimatum for the Palestinians that their mission in Washington will close if they do not sit down at the negotiating table. These are statements which we have not seen in the past,” noted Hotovely.

"We are in a very complex reality. The prime minister is doing the right thing when he places the Iranian issue at the top of the list. We can live without an arrangement with the Palestinians. The ones who will lose if there is no agreement are the Palestinians and not Israel. The State of Israel is at an unprecedented situation in terms of sympathy from the world, while the Palestinians are at an unprecedented low in terms of the world's attitude toward them. We have the ability to wait for a reality in which our neighbors feel ready to live side by side in peace. When that happens, let me know,” she added.