Israeli cabinet divided over two-state solution

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from his ruling coalition government to withdraw his support for the two-state solution during his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Israeli media published varying statements from government ministers expressing support or strong opposition for two states.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party on Saturday called on Netanyahu to refrain from mentioning a Palestinian state in his joint statement with President Trump.

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Bennett warned on his Facebook page that if the statement mentions “two states” in any capacity, “the earth will shake”.

Justice Minister Eilat Shaked also of the Jewish Home party claimed that “The Republicans took Palestinian statehood off their platform, there’s no reason that a right-wing Israeli government should outflank it from the left.”

However, opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog of the Zionist Union called on Netanyahu not to forget his promise to advance the “two-state solution”.

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“The dream of one land for two nations, which Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) is promoting serves the purpose Israel’s enemies want most: the loss of Israel’s identity as a Jewish nation,” Herzog said.

During his weekly cabinet meeting Netanyahu called on his government to stay calm and said that his meeting with President Trump would be “very important to Israel’s security as well as its international standing.”

Although Netanyahu had endorsed the two-state solution during a speech at Bar-Ilan University back in June 2009, Palestinians are sceptical about his commitment to the solution due to his settlement activities in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the confiscation of Palestinian land which makes the establishment of a Palestinian state almost impossible.