Knesset speaker: Israel will benefit from partial annexation
Speaking in a special interview to Ynet to mark the Knesset building’s 68th birthday, Yuli Edelstein suggests annexation of areas in the West Bank—where there is a consensus that they will remain part of Israel in any final peace agreement—would be positive for Israel: also says Netanyahu is not required to resign if an indictment is issued against him.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein suggested Tuesday afternoon that imposing Israeli sovereignty over various locations in the West Bank would serve to Israel’s benefit, so long as annexation took place within the perimeters of areas which would ultimately become part of the country in any final peace agreement.
Speaking to Ynet in a special interview to mark the Knesset building's 68th birthday, Edelstein was referring to the main settlement blocs including Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion.
“Not only will we not be hurt by this, but we will even make progress if places are annexed into Israel where there is consensus that they will remain a part of Israel,” Edelstein said, despite the deluge of international protestations voiced by international leaders and bodies following the Knesset’s passing of the Regulation Law.
During the interview, Edelstein also addressed the likelihood of whether an indictment would be issued against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who remains mired in investigations involving suspicions that he received expensive gifts from the billionaire Arnon Milchan and conversations he allegedly held with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes.
“No one is happy that the prime minister is under investigation. He is innocent of any crime until proof shows otherwise in the courts,” he stated.
“People say to me: But how can he operate? Fact: he is currently on a state visit, he appears in the Knesset, he does his work. If he was locked in a room and was sitting with his lawyer and only thinking about the investigation then maybe I would say: Mr. Prime Minister, this is not the way to serve a country. But as long as he is doing his work we will wait patiently and I hope the results will come soon, whatever they may be. We all respect the courts.”
In any event, Edelstein said that a prime minister was not required to resign should an indictment be issued, as stipulated by the law.
“These kinds of things really depend on the circumstances, on the severity of the indictment, on the time remaining until the next elections, on when everything happened…Democratically speaking there is no problem. We can go to the elections just as we can continue,” he concluded.