PM: Israel will never cede land to Palestinians
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has disavowed his 2009 speech supporting an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution.
In a statement released by his right-wing Likud party on Sunday, the prime minister explicitly said that Tel Aviv would never withdraw from any part of the occupied territories, rejecting a key goal of the international community as he seeks to challenge hardliners in national elections on March 17.
"Israel will never make concessions, no withdrawals," he said, "any territory ceded by Israel would fall in the hands of Islamic extremism, and terror groups, supported by Iran."
Likud Party spokesperson Elie Bennet said Netanyahu's 2009 Bar Ilan speech that calls for a Palestinian state next to Israel, "is not relevant anymore."
The statement was strongly rebuked by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
"Today Netanyahu revealed his true face," Erekat said. "Since 1993, he worked hard for the destruction of the option of peace and the option of a two-state solution."
"When given the choice between negotiation and dictation he has chosen dictation... Netanyahu's policies are a major threat to peace and stability in the region," he added.
The statement came after Israeli Ynet News published what it called "a secret list of concessions made by Netanyahu to the Palestinians during his previous term in office," which it said "completely contradict all positions and stances the Prime Minister currently presents.