‘Force to Be Reckoned With’: Israel’s Settlers Dig in Ahead of Obama Visit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still struggling to knit these disparate strands into a governing alliance, but it is likely he will need to bring together his traditional right-wing supporters and the new more moderate voices.
And few issues divide the Israeli establishment more than that of settlements.
Here’s the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, speaking on Israeli radio on Feb. 7:
“There is a discrepancy between our claim that we are willing to accept a two-state solution and the fact that we don’t limit the construction in the settlements to the settlement blocs.”
Meridor is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party who failed to win re-election. But his voice has always tended toward the pragmatic.
“I’m not saying we should stop construction in Jerusalem and in the settlement blocs, but we must not build beyond them, because by doing so we promote a very dangerous situation to Zionism, of one state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, which endangers us more than anything else,” he said.
Israeli media cite anonymous sources in Netanyahu’s office to say he’s not planning another freeze on settlements. On Monday he reiterated his support for two state-solution, albeit unenthusiastically.
The battle over settlements centers around mutually exclusive visions of Israel’s future - a two-state solution versus an Israel decisively laying claim to land captured in the 1967 war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.