Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University, in which he accepted a two-state solution after campaigning on a platform of “economic peace,” was “a tactical speech for the world,” according to Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely. Speaking on a panel at a Jerusalem university, she continued, “Netanyahu made the speech in response to accusations from the Arab world and to expose Mahmoud Abbas, who refuses to recognize the Jewish state.”
Israeli daily Maariv reported that Hotovely, the highest ranking female politician in Likud, said Likud’s party platform does not support the formation of a Palestinian state.
During the panel the issue of settlements was also broached. Hotovely pointed to the fact Netanyahu had not called for the evacuation of one settlement during his past term, which began in 2007. “The issue is not on the agenda. Likud has no plans to evacuate settlements,” she said.
Netanyahu’s government is seen by many as being implacable on the issue of development in disputed territory. Following the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral move for a status upgrade at the UN in November, the Israeli government announced plans to build in the E1 zone near Jerusalem. Despite international pressure, Netanyahu’s office vowed to move forward with the construction plans.