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January 14, 2013 12:20 pm

Vice Prime Minister: No Place for Palestinian State Alongside Israel Now

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Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon. Photo: Jini/Haaretz.

There is no place for a Palestinian state alongside Israel at the current time, Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said on Saturday. Ya’alon is largely thought to be first in line to be appointed defense minister in the new government after the Jan. 22 elections.

“The person who is refusing to come to the negotiating table is [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas,” Ya’alon said at a cultural event in central Israel on Saturday. “The goals of Abbas are the same as the goals of Hamas.”

“As far as I’m concerned, there is an entity in Gaza that can call itself the United Islamic Republic and the Palestinian Authority can call itself the Palestinian Empire,” Ya’alon said, referring to the Palestinian Authority’s recent re-branding of itself as the “State of Palestine.”

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom on Friday, Ya’alon said that Abbas was not a partner for peace because “he has never said that the occupation began in 1967. Instead, he insists that the occupation is 64 years old. This is hope? No, this is a delusion.”

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“Stop talking about a solution,” Ya’alon said. “Let’s instead talk about a path that we must follow, and that path is construction. We need to invest in education, infrastructure, settlement, science, and technology. This is the real hope. There is no partner for an agreement.”

The Palestinian Authority harshly condemned Ya’alon’s statements.

“These are grave threats against Abbas, which are identical to the threats the Israeli government made against Yasser Arafat,” senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat said.

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