Speaking today at the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ratcheted up the rhetoric to a dramatic degree, saying Israel will retain full military control over all of the occupied territories for the “foreseeable future” and dismissing the prospects of Palestinian statehood.
Incredibly, during the speech Netanyahu stared down the centrist opposition and declared that Israel “will forever live by the sword,” insisting that it is only the problem of “extreme Islam” that keeps the Palestinians from being potential partners in a two-state solution.
Yet this ultimately undercut his insistence that Israel intends to keep that territory for themselves, a plan which he was quick to include didn’t mean a “binational state” in which those living under occupation would become citizens.
Even members of the far-right Jewish Home party seemed taken aback by Netanyahu’s attitude, with Betzalel Smotrich asking why he even bothered with the pretense of talking to Abbas, claiming he was “pulling the world’s leg.”
Netanyahu insisted that he would talk with anyone who isn’t calling for Israel’s destruction, though at this point it seems more clear than ever that this is just talk for talk’s sake, and concessions aren’t being made to anyone.