Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin Israel news photo: (file)

A Palestinian Authority state will be different than other states and consist only of autonomy, said Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin in a Tuesday meeting with Italian Ambassador to Israel Luigi Mattiolo.

"There is an understanding in Israel that the state being offered to the Palestinians will not be a country like other countries, such as Italy or Israel,” said Rivlin according to a Nana news service report. “In fact, we do not intend to grant them more than self-autonomy.”

The Knesset Speaker said the view was based on the dangers inherent in a PA state, and invoked the lessons learned from the Gaza withdrawal in 2005. “We can’t allow a situation where one day they make our lives total hell like they tried to do in Gaza,” explained Rivlin in the meeting.

He said that Israel needs to make decisions which demonstrate strength, because its enemies attack in response to signs of retreat and weakness. “Only if we show strength and a firm belief in our right to settle the land here, in security and based on our connection to the land, then our enemies will respect us,” according to the Knesset Speaker.

Rivlin also addressed the relationship between Israel and the United States in light of the two countries’ recent disagreements over the question of settlements, continued construction in eastern Jerusalem, and other issues related to the Middle East.

“There are ups and downs in our relationship, but our common ground overcomes all, even [U.S. President Barack] Obama’s new approach to the region,” he told Mattiolo. “Even if I was an American citizen and I supported democracy [in Israel] because I’m a Democrat, we need to remember that large groups of Republicans support Israel without condition; many for religious reasons.”

Ambassador Mattiolo said Italy understands Israel’s concerns and position. “It’s clear to us that you don’t share a border with Switzerland, like we do, and that you are unwilling to take dangerous risks like you did in Gaza.”