Cabinet Minister Benny Begin says the PA Arabs want a 2-state solution simply in order to end up with just one state – Palestine instead of Israel.
Appearing on Wednesday before a Likud founders’ audience at Tel Aviv’s Metzudat Ze’ev, the 16-story building that houses the Likud Party’s headquarters, Begin declared, “If the two-state solution is the only solution, then there is no solution.”
Begin’s tough-talk speech was clearly timed to influence Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech this coming Sunday, at which the Prime Minister will respond to U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo of last week.
"The realities of the past 15 years have gravely harmed the concept of two states for two peoples,” Begin said. “The state they want is only intended to destroy Israel. The Palestinians are not interested in the two-state solution. They want the two-stage solution, after which there would be only one state: Palestine.”
Begin, whose father Menachem was Prime Minister from 1977 until 1983, was a Knesset Member of the Likud for three terms, from 1988 until 1999; he quit in the middle of the last term in order to head the forerunner of today’s National Union party. However, when the party won only four seats in the 1999 elections, he resigned, saying he had not won the electorate’s confidence. At the end of last year, Netanyahu prevailed upon him to return to politics and to the Likud.
Outspoken Cabinet Minister
Though Minister without Portfolio Begin is not the only senior Likud member to express opposition to a Palestinian state, he is one of the most outspoken, and could easily be a leader of a potential “rebel” camp against Netanyahu, should the latter decide to swing to the left.
Begin told his audience that the failed Oslo process, the refusal of PLO leaders Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas to accept generous offers from Israeli leaders, the Disengagement and other milestones along the way are very telling. “We don’t have to keep knocking our heads against the wall,” Begin said. “The reason for the failures of the last 15 years is not because of a lack of concessions on our part... It’s crazy to keep trying over and over the same thing that hasn’t worked.”
Praising Yesha Residents
Dr. Begin was profuse in his praise of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria – known around the world as the “settlers.” He said, “These communities are those that fulfill in practice the right of the People of Israel to the Land of Israel – not only in the Sharon, but also in the Shomron, and not only in the Judean Plain, but also in Judea. Our pioneers are living there under not-simple conditions. But this enterprise cannot be stopped.”
“If the Jewish towns in Gaza were truly an obstacle to peace, as had been claimed, then their uprooting should have brought quiet. But they did not. The ruins of our towns in Gaza now serve as terrorist bases from where rockets are fired at us.”
'Land for Peace' Has Become 'Land for Terrorism'
Referring to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the subsequent Hamas takeover, Begin said, “The theory of ‘land for peace’ has been shown to be a non-starter. The result has instead been ‘land for terrorism.’”
Begin also said that the reason why the PA Arabs refuse to agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is in order to keep the refugee issue alive, and then, after a Palestinian state is formed, they hope to destroy Israel from within via a deluge of Arabs.