Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Friday warned against annexation of Judea and Samaria or accelerated construction in the region without coordinating with the United States.
“We cannot move forward without understandings with the United States, both regarding construction and application of sovereignty, so I suggest that everyone calm down,” Liberman said in an interview on Channel 2 News.
“As for annexation and construction in Judea and Samaria – we must understand that this is not the function of declarations or attempts for short-term electoral gains,” Liberman added in what appeared to be a hint to Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, though he did not mention Bennett by name.
“This is, first and foremost, a result or a function of our understandings with the United States. If someone thinks that you can apply Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria or the blocs or build indefinitely without an understanding with the White House, he is mistaken,” continued the Defense Minister.
Asked about President Donald Trump’s statement that the U.S. will not necessarily insist on the two-state solution, Liberman replied, “We support a Jewish state, not a binational one. I think we should separate from the Palestinians, even those who live in Wadi Ara. There is no reason for us to agree to a Palestinian state without even one Jew, while we become a country with an Arab population of more than 20%.”
Referring to assessments among some members of the coalition that a military confrontation with Hamas may be close, Liberman said, “We have no plans to initiate any military action, not in the south, not in the north.”
At the same time, he stressed that “we will respond forcefully to any provocation, and more powerfully each time. This message has been received, both in Gaza and in the north.”
The Defense Minister also responded to the report from earlier on Friday, which indicated that he will share the stage in Munich on Sunday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“I hope he will be present when I speak and will hear what I think about the Ayatollah regime in Tehran, and everything that I said to the Defense Ministers whom I met: That the greatest danger to the stability of the entire Middle East is Iran,” he said.
Liberman also reacted to the statement by MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List), who said this week that if the idea of a two-state solution is shelved, he himself will be Prime Minister of the resulting one state.
The Defense Minister expressed hope that Tibi “will be a member of parliament in Ramallah. He has no business in the Israeli parliament.”
Finally, Liberman played down reports that there will be elections soon due to the investigations against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“I do not see any elections on the horizon and anyone who sees elections soon should calm down,” he said.