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Netanyahu warns ministers against declarations of annexation
Speaking at a Likud party forum meeting, PM warns that any declarations pertaining to annexation or construction in the West Bank could precipitate further maneuvers prior to expiration of Obama's tenure; 'I have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated the decision.'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his party Sunday to refrain from making public declarations relating to annexation of territories or construction in the West Bank, warning that more international maneuvers could be made against Israel until the expiration of President Obama’s tenure in office on January 20.

 

 

The instructions came during a Likud party forum meeting held shortly before a special cabinet security-diplomatic meeting which is scheduled to be held in the afternoon.

 

During the meeting, the prime minister is expected delineate plans Israel intends to take against the UN in retaliation for the contentious UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to settlement construction, and defining all those built thus far and in the future as illegal—including those in eastern Jerusalem.

 

Echoing his speech yesterday denouncing Resolution 2334, Netanyahu once again heaped criticism on the Obama administration during the weekly Sunday government meeting: “I share the anger and frustration of the members of the government in light of this most unbalanced decision against Israel, that was taken in the most innapropriate manner by the Security Council,” he said.

 

“I have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated the decision and stands behind it,” he stated unequivocally. “It coordinated its phrasing and saw to it that it would be passed—completely contrary to the traditional American policy of not seeking to impose final terms through the Security Council,” he continued.

 

PM Netanyahu (Photo: Flash90)
PM Netanyahu (Photo: Flash90)

 

With no attempt to conceal his disdain for the outgoing President in light of his decision to not veto the move, Netanyahu said, “It was the explicit commitment made by President Obama to prevent steps such as these. We will do all that we need in order to ensure that Israel emerges unharmed from this shameful decision.”

 

Concluding his statement, Netanyahu urged his ministers to conduct themselves with responsibility. “I say to the ministers, you need to act with insight, with responsibility and coolheadedness. That means both in action and in words,” he said. “I am asking that ministers act with responsibility in accordance with the guidelines that will be given at the cabinet meeting today after the government meeting.

 

“I have asked the Foreign Ministry to prepare a plan of action against the UN and other international organizations which will be presented to the cabinet and until then we will assess additional measures.”

 

Despite his exhortations, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) already called on Israel to impose sovereignty on the West Bank. “In the near future we should impose sovereignty on the the whole of Area C in Judea and Samaria” Bennett said in response to the resolution.

 

Naftali Bennett (Photo: Daniel Elior)
Naftali Bennett (Photo: Daniel Elior)

 

“There are two alternatives: surrender of sovereignty. We have tried surrendering and giving up for 25 years already. The time has come for sovereignty.”

 

But it would not be the first time Bennett has made such statements. Indeed, Shortly after the US population voted for Donald Trump, Bennett hailed his victory, saying that it helped create an opportunity for Israel to abandon its stated commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

 

During her speech after the adoption of the resolution in the UN, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power specifically cited statements made by both Netanyahu and Bennett in an effort to justify the US's decision.

 

"One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict. One has to make a choice between settlements and separation," Power said.

 

"The Israeli Prime Minister recently described his government as 'more committed to settlements than any in Israel's history,' and one of his leading coalition partners (Bayit Yehudi Leader Naftali Bennettt—ed) recently declared that 'the era of the two-state solution is over.' At the same time, the prime minister has said that he is still committed to pursuing a two-state solution. But these statements are irreconcilable."

 

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