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No Palestinian state if re-elected, says Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday there would be no Palestinian state if he were re-elected, in a last-ditch effort to woo rightwing voters on the eve of a general election.

With his rightwing Likud trailing the centre-left Zionist Union in the final polls, Netanyahu said that if his rivals were elected security would be compromised and they would give up total Israeli control over Jerusalem.

“We will continue to build to fortify Jerusalem so its division will not be possible and it will remain united forever,” he said on a tour of Har Homa, a settlement neighbourhood of annexed east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, who is seeking a third consecutive term in office, vowed he would never allow the Palestinians to establish a capital in the city’s eastern sector and pledged to build “thousands” of settler homes. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as capital of their future state, and continued settlement building has incensed the international community, which sees it as an obstacle to peace.

Throughout his campaign, Netanyahu has repeatedly accused Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni of being ready to abandon Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.

But Netanyahu’s most bombastic statement came when he was asked by the rightwing NRG website if it was true that there would be no Palestinian state established if he was reelected.

“Indeed,” said Netan­yahu, who in 2009 had endorsed the idea of two states living side by side.

He later told public radio that the two-state solution was now irrelevant, saying the “reality has changed” and “any territory which would be handed over would be taken over by radical Islamists”.

Published in Dawn March 17th , 2015

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