“I think it’s about time that we on the Right say what we think and not always be on the defense when people raise the issue of a two-state solution,” MK Danny Danon told The Jewish Press.
Danon, 41, deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset and chairman of World Likud, published his first book last month, Israel: The Will to Prevail (published by Palgrave Macmillan). In it, he outlines his vision for Israel’s future while also reviewing historical, religious, political, legal, and contemporary factors crucial for understanding modern-day Israel.
The Jewish Press recently spoke with him about his new book, among other issues.
The Jewish Press: In Israel: The Will to Prevail, you propose not a two-state but a three-state solution to solve Israel’s ongoing security problems. What is the three-state solution?
Danon: The three-state solution consists of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. It calls for the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to be linked to Jordan, and the Palestinians living in Gaza to be linked to Egypt. Already today you see the linkage between the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hamas regime in Gaza.
Why must the Palestinians be linked to anyone? Why can’t matters continue as they are today?
Because eventually I believe there should be a separation [between Jews and Palestinians]. So, for example, if the Palestinians want to fly, they should do so from Amman, Jordan, not from Ben Gurion Airport.
They need some kind of connection with an independent country – for exports and imports, for flying, for currency, etc. I’m pushing, though, that the connection not be with Israel but with Jordan and Egypt.
As part of your vision for Israel’s future that you lay out in your book, you advocate that Israel annex a huge chunk of the West Bank.
Yes, that’s something I’m already promoting now. I want to apply Israeli sovereignty over all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. In the long run, I think we should also apply sovereignty over all the vacant land in Judea and Samaria. My idea is to annex the majority of the land without the majority of the Palestinian population.
Is there any chance of the Knesset approving such an annexation plan?
Yes, I think it’s feasible. It’s not going to be easy, but last year, for example, the majority of [Likud Knesset members agreed] that if there is a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the UN, Israel will unilaterally annex the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
So we need to think about the timing, but I think it is feasible.
Netanyahu, however, is not in favor of annexing the West Bank.
He is not there yet, but there are people who can influence him. I always stress to Netanyahu that Menachem Begin had the courage to make a bold decision when he decided to annex the Golan Heights [in 1981 despite international disapproval].
But the condemnations Israel will receive for annexing parts of the West Bank will surely be worse than those that followed the Golan Heights annexation.
Yes, but it will not last forever.
In the book you state that the Arabs must recognize Israel’s “right to exist.” Why is that important? Who cares what the Arabs recognize? As long as they don’t launch wars, why should anyone care whether they recognize Israel? It almost seems silly to run after someone, saying, “Please recognize me!”
I think when we’re dealing with the pressure against Israel, you have to stress very clearly that [the conflict] is not about terms of conditions or negotiations. It’s much more basic. It’s that we have no viable partner. And one of the issues to make this point is that we’re dealing with a terrorist organization that doesn’t even recognize us. Furthermore, they’re not talking about the ‘67 lines but the ‘48 lines.
I think when you add these things together, you understand that it’s a non-starter. There’s no one to speak with – and it has nothing to do with the prime minister or the settlements or anything else.
One of the themes in your book is that Israel must always act in its best interests even if that means disregarding or angering the U.S. Can you elaborate?