Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Then-Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper at a reception for the Israeli Olympic medalists at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Aug. 16, 2021.

Israeli Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party opposes the establishment of a “Palestinian” state in exchange for normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia, fellow party member and minister-without-portfolio Chili Tropper told the country’s Army Radio on Monday.

“A few weeks ago, we introduced a motion against [establishing a “Palestinian” state] at the Knesset together with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Tropper declared.

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However, if the Jewish state “continues to stand on the sidelines and let the USA, Saudi Arabia and the entire world deal with the issue of the Palestinian state and the day after [Hamas], the world may recognize a Palestinian state over our heads,” claimed the Israeli minister.

On Saturday, Gantz threatened to leave Netanyahu’s wartime government if the premier does not declare a plan for the “day after.”

Gantz set a deadline of June 8 for Netanyahu to approve a plan of action for accomplishing what he said were six key strategic goals of the war, which began seven months ago when Hamas invaded Israel, murdering some 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages.

He listed these as: Bringing home the remaining hostages; destroying Hamas, demilitarizing the Gaza Strip and establishing Israeli security control there; creating an “international civilian governance mechanism for Gaza” including Palestinians but not Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas or Hamas; returning the residents to the north and rehabilitating the western Negev; advancing normalization with Saudi Arabia; and establishing a new framework for Israelis’ military service.

The Israeli government is opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state given Abbas’s and the P.A.’s overt support for terrorism. Recent polling shows a majority of Israelis are also united against Palestinian statehood, even if it might bring about diplomatic ties with Riyadh.

On Feb. 21, the Knesset voted 99-11 to back the government’s decision to reject any unilateral recognition of “Palestine.” All coalition lawmakers and most members of the Zionist opposition parties voted in favor of supporting a Cabinet statement rejecting “international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.”

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