Israeli PM Naftali Bennett says no Palestinian state under his watch

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett says no Palestinian state under his watch
Israeli premier Bennett made his comments in an interview coming ahead of a key Thursday meeting with US President Joe Biden.
3 min read
25 August, 2021
Naftali Bennett is set to have discussions with US President Joe Biden on Thursday [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty]

Israeli premier Naftali Bennett will grow illegal settlements and his coalition won't facilitate a Palestinian state being established, the Yamina chief said in an interview.

This comes ahead of a key Thursday meeting with US President Joe Biden, part of Bennett's first state visit as PM, which began in the US on Tuesday.

He also said the siege against Gaza is to continue while Hamas, which is in power in Gaza, maintains weapons and launches rockets at the Jewish state, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

"This government will neither annex nor form a Palestinian state, everyone gets that," Bennett said.

"I'm prime minister of all Israelis, and what I'm doing now is finding the middle ground – how we can focus on what we agree upon."

He claimed discussions on ending the decades-long Palestine-Israel conflict are not going to occur.

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However, independence for Palestine is equally something the Israeli prime minister is strongly against.

He explained his coalition will instead focus on creating "dramatic breakthroughs in the economy".

Bennett indicated that an economic lens can be used to deal with the majority of issues, Palestine being one of them.

On illegal settlements, Bennett, who used to be a senior figure in that movement, explained Tel Aviv is to continue to grow those West Bank outposts which have already been created.

He would not say if the US would be stopped from reopening a consulate general in Jerusalem tasked with managing Washington's ties with Palestine, after this was shut by ex-President Donald Trump.

However, he did claim: "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It's not the capital of other nations".

This is despite the United Nations recognising East Jerusalem as Palestinian land under Israeli occupation.

Concerning the besieged Gaza Strip, Bennett told The New York Times that, if it became necessary, he'd be prepared to enter into another armed conflict against Hamas.

He would do so despite the potential this could mean the four Palestinian-Israeli parliamentarians vital to propping up his coalition withdrawing their backing.

The Israeli premier approved the bombardment of what Israel claimed are Hamas locations in the Strip on Saturday and Monday overnight.

The Saturday aerial bombing of Gaza followed protests near the fence that boxes Gaza in, where tens of Palestinians were injured, among them a seriously hurt boy of 13, after the Israelis shot and used tear gas against those gathered.

One member of the Israeli border police was "critically" hurt by Palestinian gunfire.

Monday's violence was justified with reference to fire balloons that were sent into Israel, causing field fires.

However, speaking with Anadolu Agency for a Wednesday article, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar said he doesn’t believe authorities in Tel Aviv are going to begin another all-out armed campaign.

"They have not even been able to erase the traces of a possible collapse".