In a Saturday interview with Israel’s Channel 12 TV news, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not dismantle a single Jewish settlement, and that he would annex parts of Yehuda and Shomron if he is re-elected Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday.
The bold policy statement was made just days before national elections, which are expected to feature a tight race between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the center-left Blue and White party led by former Israeli Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
In the interview, Netanyahu said he persuaded U.S. President Donald Trump to officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights in March and Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel in December.
Though the interviewer asked Netanyahu why he had not annexed any of the Jewish towns in Yehuda and Shomron during his current term, Netanyahu evaded the question, saying that “we will move to the next stage, the imposing of Israeli sovereignty” if he wins at the polls on April 9.
“I will impose sovereignty, but I will not distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated communities,” he said. “From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have a responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians.”
“We are dealing [with the United States] on exercising Israeli sovereignty on Ma’aleh Adumim and other things,” he said. “Everyone understands the next term will be fateful for guaranteeing our security and our control over key territory in Yehuda and Shomron.”
Netanyahu also said that he would finally evacuate the illegal Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, which he failed to do during his current administration.
In an interview with Makor Rishon newspaper, Netanyahu said that a unity government with Blue and White would not take place with the Likud.
He also said that Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan would “probably be on the table immediately after the elections.”
“In any event, I stated my guidelines for the plan [to the U.S. administration],” said Netanyahu. “I will not accept any plan that uproots even a single settlement or resident.”
When asked by interviewer Hagai Segal whether the Palestinian Authority could take sovereignty over some areas currently housing Jewish communities, Netanyahu responded: “Certainly not. Not even a single one. Governance west of the Jordan River will remain in our hands. We have the responsibility to govern, from a security point of view, over the whole area. That is our condition. We will not commit suicide to win a positive article in The New York Times, which will not last for more than two hours.”
Asked what the Palestinian Authority could receive from Netanyahu, the prime minister said that Israel has no interest in running the lives of its residents.
“As far as I’m concerned, there are three iron conditions: No settlers are displaced, and secondly, we are sovereign from a security perspective in the entire area west of the Jordan River. Third, I will not divide Jerusalem.”