MK Mickey Zohar (Likud) refuted Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's denunciation of those who promote annexing Judea and Samaria at the opening of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting in an interview with Arutz Sheva.
Zohar first treated the claim that annexation contravenes US government policy, creating a political crisis: "I would suggest that Minister Liberman be patient before determining US government policy. There is a new administration, we will adapt a new policy to go with it, and my goal is to create a fresh political discourse".
According to him, "Liberman is inflicting political damage on the Rightist program that the public sent us to implement in the Knesset. The Rightist policy we were elected for is to rescind the idea of a Palestinian state and to construct a new dialog that talks about living together with the same rights and responsibilities. There is no other way or a different solution. Establishing a Palestinian state, apart from terrorism and Jewish blood, will not lead to anything."
Liberman said that such a move would require Israel to provide the Palestinians with NIS 20 billion and would generate a dispute with the US administration; do you agree?
"I do not agree. First, it does not come to 20 billion shekels. Secondly, if there is genuine peace here, the world will rally to their aid economically. Third, this will significantly lessen our defense spending. Peace can only happen in one state. A State of Israel with a Jewish majority and an Arab-Palestinian minority - and realizing it will require courage and daring, and we can realize it together with the new US administration."
Equal rights without being able to vote?
"Rights come with responsibilities. If you want the right to vote legitimately then serve in the military or National Service, recognize the Israeli flag, and recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish and democratic state with an Arab minority. If you recognize these three things there is no reason you should not be able to vote for the Knesset. To my great consternation or to my great joy, the Palestinians do not want to adopt these three things and so we offer them an autonomous Palestinian council so that they can operate there without feeling they are absolutely committed to all the principles we talked about. Israeli law, particularly in security issues, will apply to the Palestinian population. We can live here in coexistence and not as a form of apartheid, as the word is bandied about. Voting for the Knesset or not voting for the Knesset is completely different from the word 'apartheid' that we hear."
Translated by Mordechai Sones