Ofir Akunis to Arutz Sheva:
'Between the sea and Jordan there's no place for a Palestinian state'

Minister Ofir Akunis argues Israel must not agree to Palestinian state.

Shimon Cohen ,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis hopes his Science Ministry successors will also choose not to appoint Professor Yael Amitai to the Israel Science Foundation Germany for her support of IDF objectors and expresses his firm stance against the possibility of including the Palestinian state idea in the Trump program.

On the words of incoming Science Minister MK Yizhar Shai that he does not oppose Prof. Yael Amitai's appointment to the Israel Science Foundation, an appointment to which Akunis' opposition led him to court, says Minister Akunis, "I'm glad he hasn't made a final decision yet , but that he should weigh it and confirm only if it stands the test of law. My argument is that the appointment doesn't stand the test of law and that was my argument in the Supreme Court.

"Beyond my right to not act as a rubber stamp for a random law-finding committee, the law does not support it. Ms. Amitai signed a document soliciting soldiers to refuse service in Judea and Samaria. It was at the time of a military operation, Defensive Shield, designed to save the country's citizens from terror every day. In the test of law that solicitation to refusal is a criminal offense and during a military operation it's even worse," says Akunis, mentioning that Amitai signed a political document signed by academics "who accused me of political considerations but it's exactly the opposite. I didn't confirm the appointment because they were the ones who intervened politically while using their degrees as academics for political utterances."

Minister Akunis says that he met with Minister Shai and presented him with the remarks, including the objection-support document signed by Prof. Amitai, and for the time being cannot understand where his intentions on this issue are leading.

As Regional Cooperation Minister, Akunis was asked how he intends to advance this cooperation while a significant factor in the region, the "Palestinians", take a step backward on cooperation with Israel.

"I don't believe in peace processes based on displacement and concession withdrawals. True peace will come only by itself from economic ventures that include the Egyptians, Jordanians, and others. Economic peace is good and will bring true blossoming and prosperity. Withdrawals only brought terror and wars."

On the Ministry's activities, he mentions, "There are ventures here that the Ministry deals with like the sea pipeline venture that has nothing to do with the Palestinians. There's also the Shaar haYarden venture in cooperation with the Kingdom of Jordan, and any international economic entity interested in it is invited. The industrial areas in Mishor Adumim and Barkan, where Palestinians who want to earn a living have great potential if they want to. If they don't want to, the great loss is mostly theirs."

From his first day in the Knesset, Minister Akunis declared that he would not support establishing Palestinian state. Following the political developments, Akunis was asked whether a Palestinian state in the form of the Trump plan, with "political candy" in the form of sovereignty over the communities, is acceptable to him.

"I completely separate the issues. Applying Israeli law to Jewish space in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley has nothing to do with my opposition to any Palestinian state of any kind, because it is ideological opposition that stems from our historical right to Judea and Samaria since the dawn of history."

On the argument that this is a package deal presented by the U.S. President, take-it-or-leave-it, Minister Akunis says: "I wasn't 100 percent convinced that this was his statement, and the proof is their agreement, clearly stated by Pompeo, that the issue of sovereignty is an Israeli matter. If it is an Israeli matter then that's what it is. While the Palestinian state matter was discussed in 2009, the majority was in favor of establishing a Palestinian state, and in the wake of public opinion in that regard, the majority of the Jewish public now opposes establishing a Palestinian state."

On the concerns of settlement heads regarding political negotiations aimed at establishing a Palestinian state, Akunis says: "It's always good to be particularly concerned about international relations. I stated my stance clearly. I know the position of the heads of the communities. There's no place for any formula to establish a Palestinian state in Western Israel. I don't think there's anything clearer than that."