Verifying the fears that Palestinians have voiced for years (which have constantly been denied by Israel), Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told an interviewer with Ha’aretz newspaper that Israel plans to use the Wall constructed inside the West Bank as the official border of the state of Israel.Since its creation in 1948, Israel has never declared its borders, and has continually expanded its territory onto Palestinian land. The Annexation Wall that Israel has constructed in the West Bank over the last eight years snakes through the Palestinian Territory, annexing huge swaths of land, including all of the hilltops and 90% of the water supply.
Meridor’s interview with Ha’aretz came after a cabinet meeting he attended with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which the ministers discussed the possibility of accepting a U.S. gift of 30 F35 fighter jets in exchange for a 3 month partial moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, with the promise that it would not be renewed. The Palestinian key demands, for a contiguous state with Jerusalem as its capital; a return of the Palestinian refugees; and the release of the Palestinian prisoners, continue to be ignored by the U.S. and Israel as they broker a deal unilaterally, without Palestinian involvement.
The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister also told the interviewer, “I think the new border has to be based on the principle of the security fence route and the settlement blocs. That is what we have to aspire to. In addition, we are insisting that Jerusalem remain the capital of Israel and are opposed to the right of return to Israel [of the Palestinian refugees], and of course [will insist on] security arrangements.”
The “security arrangements” he refers to include ongoing Israeli military control of the entire Jordan Valley, which would essentially enclose the West Bank into an island surrounded by the Israeli military, with the Palestinian population imprisoned inside.
Israeli officials, including Meridor, have in the past talked about the need for Israel to maintain control over the airspace, borders and water of any future Palestinian ‘state’, as well as retaining large swaths of land in the West Bank stolen by use of military force, on which Israeli settlements have been constructed.
During the interview with Ha’aretz, Meridor also reminisced about his father’s role in the Etzel gang, known for attacks on Palestinian civilians prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and participation in the Deir Yassin massacre which took place in 1948. Meridor said the story of the Etzel gang was “a story of courage”.
Meridor also warned against the danger of a potential ‘one-state’ solution, quoting Menachem Begin, who was a leader of the Stern Gang, which worked with the Etzel gang prior to the creation of Israel to expel Palestinian occupants from the land. Meridor said that the ‘Zionist enterprise’ would be threatened in a state where everyone has equal rights:
“A situation where there is no partition and there is one state is possible, according to the doctrine of the Herut movement, only on condition that everyone has equal rights. Menachem Begin said that ‘any Arab who wants citizenship will get it, otherwise we will be like Rhodesia.’ Is that the Zionist enterprise? Every person can judge for himself. I’ve reached the painful conclusion that keeping all the territory means a binational state that will endanger the Zionist enterprise. If we have to give up some of the territory or give up the Jewish and democratic character [of the state] – I prefer to give up some of the territory.”