Katz wants a clear stand on issue
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Minister Katz: Fatah's draft platform a declaration of war
Transportation minister tells fellow Likud members Palestinian movement's unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, demand for withdrawal to 1967 lines and right of return for refugees 'mean Israel will be wiped out'
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz responded Sunday to reports saying that Fatah would update its political platform against recognizing Israel as the Jewish state during its general assembly taking place this week in Bethlehem.


"The draft version for Fatah's meeting is a declaration of war against Israel," Katz said during a Likud ministers' discussion ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting. "Fatah's unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the demand for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a complete right of return for Palestinian refugees is tantamount to wiping out the State of Israel from existence."


He demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu present a clear stance on the matter.


Netanyahu said that Israel must wait for the Fatah conference. "As this is only a draft, we must wait and see what will happen at the convention itself – and respond accordingly."


Defense Minister Ehud Barak holds a similar stand. "We will wait and see what will happen in the conclusion stage rather than at the stage of preparations for the Fatah convention," Barak said Sunday ahead of the cabinet meeting.


The transportation minister also raised the demand that Syria take steps of normalizations towards Israel – such as allowing Israeli planes to enter its airspace on their way to and from the Far East.


"The Saudis must be pressured to accept the Israeli demand I initiated, to allow an open sky policy over Saudi Arabia. This demand is supported by the American administration – over 200 Congress members – and by Europe. There is no reason not to pressure," said Katz.


Prime Minister Netanyahu said he had spoken to businesspeople and was under the impression that such an "open sky" policy would bring about a significant revolution in the Israeli aviation industry.


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