‘Palestinian problem with us more than 120 years is fact we exist,’ says Science Minister. ‘I expect Trump to announce transfer of embassy.’
Minister of Science and Technology Ophir Akunis (Likud) relates to US President Donald Trump’s attempts to renew the political process between Israel and the Arabs, noting that the Arabs have always been opposed to peace, stressing that he strongly opposes the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva from the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, Akunis said that Israel would not agree to a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria if the PA demanded it as a condition for starting negotiations.
“We will not agree to a building freeze, as long as it depends on me,” Akunis said. “The last freeze in 2010 launched by President Obama was a grave mistake. It did not bring negotiations closer, it distanced them; it did not bring the Palestinians closer to peace, but kept them from peace.”
The Science Minister noted that he expects President Trump to announce during the coming year that he will transfer the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as he promised during the election campaign.
Regarding the possibility of a political process starting, Akunis said that everything depends on the PA. “The peace objectors are the Palestinians, not Israel and not the United States. If you ask whether there is a chance to start a political process, this is a question that must be addressed to those who refuse to enter the process, and that is the Palestinians.”
Maybe the fact that Trump is an old businessman will bring him success with this?
“I do not think the Palestinians make this consideration. After all, the Palestinians have maintained their relationship with the Jewish community even before the establishment of the State of Israel. For more than 120 years it has been known that the Arab-Israeli conflict has nothing to do with settlement in Judea and Samaria, nothing to do with the 50 year celebrations marking the unification of Jerusalem, nothing to do with applying sovereignty on the Golan. It only has to do with the fact that Israel exists, and that’s the Palestinians problem.”
Minister Akunis stressed that he is categorically opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. “My statement against a Palestinian state was received here sympathetically, and this is a great expression of the fact that many Jews in the world and many Israelis understand that a Palestinian state will not bring peace to the Middle East.”
The idea of ??a Palestinian state has already stuck to us, is there a chance to convince the world otherwise?
“In the first place we did not have to go into this, that was the initial mistake. Now we have to convince the world, after seeing what is happening in Syria, Iran, and Iraq, does the Middle East need another terrorist state? Of course, if this is at the expense of parts of the Jewish People’s homeland, the answer is no,” Minister Akunis stressed. “This is what I have said consistently since the Bar-Ilan speech and even before.”