MINISTER OF STRATEGIC AFFAIRS Gilad Erdan said nobody in the cabinet supports the creation of a Palestinian state, least of all Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“All of the Cabinet members oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, and leading them is the prime minister. I’d be extremely happy if, following eight years of hard restrictions on hundreds of thousands of our citizens, there are no building limits,” he said, according to Israel’s army radio.
“There’s no justification for the Palestinian side that doesn’t extend its hand in peace,” added Erdan.
Erdan was speaking ahead of Netanyahu’s first White House meeting with the US president, Donald Trump.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett echoed Erdan’s opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, saying the “expectation” among Palestinian nationalists was the creation of a “third Palestinian state” in the West Bank, in addition to Gaza and Jordan.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Israel needed to say firmly “no” to a Palestinian state, and “yes” to an undivided Jerusalem.
Trump has signaled he supports moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority has warned will fire up the region.
OPPOSITION CHAIRMAN ISAAC HERZOG meanwhile said he was sure the majority of Israelis continue to support a two-state solution.
“The State of Israel has a clear majority supporting separation from the Palestinians and a two-state vision,” the opposition leader said, as a message to President Trump on Netanyahu’s visit.
HAIFA MAYOR YONAH YAHAV celebrated a court ruling ordering Haifa Chemicals to empty its 12,000-ton ammonia storage facility at Haifa Bay.
“I hope the environmental protection minister will shut down the rest of [Haifa Chemicals’] toxins immediately and will be bold enough to do it,” said Yahav.
“I hope these facilities won’t be with us any longer,” he said.
A couple of weeks ago, a leading Israeli chemist released a report warning that an attack on ships unloading ammonia or the facilities themselves could kill thousands. Haifa Bay is within rocket range from Lebanese Hezbollah.
Following the report, the Haifa Municipality filed an appeal ordering the facilities’ closure. A Haifa court ordered the emptying of the ammonia facilities within 10 days.
Haifa Chemicals attorney Yossi Benkal meanwhile said the country couldn’t survive “more than a few days without ammonia.”
Most of the ammonia imported into Israel is converted into fertilizer and exported.
SHOMRON REGIONAL CHAIRMAN, Yossi Dagan, said he was pessimistic President Trump would take a softer line on the settlements than his predecessor.
“Trump’s going to be condemning Israel a lot more despite saying he’d always be in the middle,” said Dagan, referring to White House sanctioning of Israel’s latest round of settlement housing announcements.
Last Friday, Trump told Israel Hayom‘s Boaz Bismuth that he “didn’t want to” condemn Israel over the settlements. A White House statement last week said new settlements or housing beyond existing blocs was unhelpful for the peace process.