Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Benjamin Netanyahu Opposes Palestinian State, Cabinet Ally Concedes

Benjamin Netanyahu opposes a Palestinian state, a senior Israeli cabinet member said on Monday, but left it unclear whether the prime minister would say that publicly in talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington this week.

Netanyahu has never explicitly abandoned his conditional support for a future Palestine, and his spokesman did not respond immediately to a request to comment on Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s remarks.

Erdan belongs to Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, whose leading members have often espoused a harder line than the prime minister himself.

“I think all members of the security cabinet, and foremost the prime minister, oppose a Palestinian state,” Erdan told Army Radio after the forum met on Sunday on the eve of Netanyahu’s departure for Washington for talks with Trump on Wednesday.

“No one thinks in the next few years that a Palestinian state is something that, God forbid, might or should happen,” he said in the interview.

But asked if Netanyahu would voice opposition to statehood on camera when he meets Trump, Erdan said: “The prime minister has to weigh things according to what he feels in the meeting and the positions he encounters there. No one knows what the positions of the president and his staff are.”

Palestinians seek to establish a state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel captured those areas in a 1967 war and pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005.

NUANCED

Citing Israeli settlement activity, Palestinian leaders and the former U.S. administration of Barack Obama have questioned Netanyahu’s commitment, which he first made in a 2009 policy speech, to the so-called two-state solution to decades of conflict.

“It is not only their statements – what the government of the extreme right in Israel does on the ground prevents any chance of the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Wasel Abu Youssef, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said of Erdan’s comments.

Since Trump took office last month, Netanyahu has approved construction of 6,000 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, drawing international condemnation which the White House did not join.

In recent days, however, the Trump administration has taken a more nuanced position, saying building new settlements or expanding existing ones may not be helpful in achieving peace.

Netanyahu has spelled out terms for a future Palestine: its demilitarization, the stationing of Israeli troops in its territory and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the “nation-state” of the Jewish people.

Last month, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said Netanyahu, in a closed-door meeting with Likud ministers, coined a new term “Palestinian state-minus” to describe his vision of limited Palestinian sovereignty.

Under interim peace deals, Palestinians, who number about 2.5 million in the West Bank, currently exercise limited self-rule in the territory, where some 350,000 Israeli settlers live.

Some members of Netanyahu’s government have called for the annexation of parts of the West Bank, a demand he has resisted.—Reuters

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.