Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett has reiterated his opposition to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state in the occupied territories, calling it a "terrible mistake.”
In an interview with Israel’s Kan public broadcaster on Tuesday, Bennett claimed that the Palestinian statehood was not feasible and thus the question of whether to support it was not relevant.
“I oppose a Palestinian state — I think it would be a terrible mistake,” he said. “I won’t do that.”
The Israeli premier also predicted that no political breakthrough was possible with the Palestinians in the near future.
He further alleged that if Hamas or other Palestinian resistance groups took over the West Bank, the lives of Israelis would be turned into a living hell.
Palestinians are seeking to establish an independent state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip within the 1967 boundaries, with East al-Quds as its capital.
However, Israel's aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement construction activities in the occupied lands.
Elsewhere in his interview, Bennett said that he sees no reason to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He cited Abbas’ pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and payment of monthly stipends to Palestinian prisoners.
“I don’t see any logic in meeting someone who is suing IDF soldiers at The Hague and accusing them of war crimes, and at the same time paying salaries” to Palestinian prisoners, Bennett said.
Meanwhile, Bennett stressed that he agreed with the approach of Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz in maintaining ties with Palestinian officials.
However, he added, there is no current possibility of restarting talks with the Palestinians.
Gantz met with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 29. It was the highest-level meeting between Abbas and an Israeli minister to be made public since Israel's new coalition was formed in June.