Ex-Mossad Chief warns one-state solution poses 'existential threat' to Israel
Israel must choose what kind of state it wants to be or face an existential threat, ex-Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a conference in the coastal city of Netanya, Pardo claimed that instead of choosing a course of action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the government has only "buried its head in the sand" and is waiting for the conflict to resolve itself.
"Israel has chosen not to choose, hoping the conflict will resolve itself – perhaps the Arabs will disappear, maybe some cosmic miracle will happen," Pardo mused before the audience.
"One day we will become a bi-national state because it will be impossible to untie the knot between the two peoples. That is not the way to decide."
Pardo went on to say that Israel has "one existential threat," referring to Israel's "military justice system" in the West Bank and warned that the situation is a "ticking time bomb."
"Nearly an identical number of Jews and Muslims live between the [Mediterranean] sea and the Jordan border," he noted.
"The non-Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria live under occupation. This is Israel's definition, not mine," he told the audience. "The law in this territory is as we have made it, a military justice system that is subject to the authority of the Israel Defense Forces.”
Israel bears responsibility not only for the situation with the West Bank, but also for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip, he argued.
"Israel is responsible for the humanitarian situation, and this is the place with the biggest problem in the world today,” Pardo stated.
The only way forward, he explained, is for Israel to "deal with the demographic reality and [decide] which state we want to be."
Any other option, according to Pardo, "harbors a disaster for the Zionist vision."
"The key to saving the state requires brave leadership,” he added, in an apparent jibe at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The fate of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was thrown into question after US president Donald Trump said he could "live with" either a one- or two-state solution in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February.
According to a report in the Haaretz daily published prior to the meeting, hardline Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett, along with along with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and other right-wing lawmakers, have argued that Trump's November 8 victory had provided an opportunity for Israel to update its policies with regards to the Palestinians and remove independent Palestinian statehood from the American agenda.
Bennett was said to be pressuring Netanyahu to distance himself from a 2009 speech in which the premier said he would be willing to accept an independent demilitarized Palestinian state in exchange for their recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, and to present an updated policy which objects to any curbs on settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and which abandons the two-state solution.
Netanyahu on Saturday sent a delegation to Washington to discuss the contentious issue of Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, following a visit to the region by Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt.
Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for international negotiations, met a range of people on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides during his visit.
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