Gideon Saar
Gideon Saar Revital Tidras

Former Education Minister Gideon Saar, who announced his return to politics earlier this year following a three-year sabbatical, and is often touted as a contender for leadership of the Likud following Netanyahu’s future retirement, warned Thursday that the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise.

Speaking at the Jabotinsky Leadership Conference in Har Herzl in Jerusalem Thursday, Saar said Palestinian statehood along Israel’s eastern border would spark a massive wave of Arab immigration into the area, threatening regional stability.

“We cannot agree to a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. The establishment of a Palestinian state would lead to Palestinian control over the borders. Immediately after such a state would be established, there’d be a flood of ‘refugees’ from Syria and other countries into the area.”

“Can anyone really guarantee us that within this flood of [migrants] there won’t be Islamist radicals who have sworn to destroy the ‘Zionist entity’? Zionism will be pushed backwards – the Zionist enterprise will be destroyed.”

Despite the threat posed by Palestinian statehood, Saar called for unity among Israeli Jews, warning that a split between the right and left could itself be a serious threat to the Jewish state.

“Our political opponents are our brothers and sisters, even if they’re wrong. We need to respect them and foster dialogue between ourselves and them.”

“There is nothing worse than infighting between Jews. We need to be careful about everything we say that could create [divisions].”

Aside from the strategic importance of retaining Judea and Samaria, Saar emphasized Israel’s rights to the heart of the historic Jewish homeland.

“We need to remember that we have a right to our land – it’s not just a matter of geo-political strategic interests.”

“This is often overlooked in the [political] dialogue [on the issue], and it hurts us.”