Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday night at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that no matter how negotiations turn out with the Palestinian Authority, Israel will not relinquish the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Speaking in an onstage interview with CNN, Netanyahu said, “We’re keeping the holy sites and the status quo, and I want to stress that under any arrangement that we have, we will always keep the status quo at the Temple Mount and all of the holy sites.
“Our position is that Jerusalem should remain united under Israel’s sovereignty with complete religious rights for those of all faiths.”
Netanyahu dismissed the idea that Israel envisions a plan to swallow the entirety of Judea and Samaria.
“It’s a complete distortion,” he said. “I think they [Palestinian Authority citizens] want to govern themselves, which I don’t have any problem with… The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves but none of the powers to harm us,” he said.
“Israel will retain the overriding security control, but other than that, the Palestinians will be able to govern themselves.” Netanyahu pointed out that “U.S. troops remain in Europe 80 years later” as well, in the wake of World War II.
“I don’t want to annex the Palestinians and I don’t want them to live as subjects.”
The prime minister added that President Donald Trump had made history with his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, by “recognizing those indelible facts of the past and present. I think he did a great service for peace because peace can only be made by truth.”
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, he said, “refuses to negotiate” – and he has been protected in that by the international community.
Netanyahu chided world leaders and Abbas both, saying it is time for the Palestinian Authority leadership to simply “stop kvetching.”