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'No hope' for Palestinian state after Trump's win

The Israeli minister provoked outrage after saying that the idea of a Palestinian state [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 November, 2016

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Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday that Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election marked the end of hopes for a Palestinian state.
Israel's education minister provoked outrage on Wednesday after saying that the idea of a Palestinian state was over after Donald Trump won the US presidential election, calling for an end to what has been the basis of years of negotiations.

"Trump's victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause," Naftali Bennett, who heads the hardline Jewish Home party, said in an apparent reference to the occupied West Bank.

"This is the position of the president-elect ... The era of a Palestinian state is over."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, called on Trump to follow through on his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a break with the consistent policy of successive administrations, Republican as well as Democrat.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, also called for the embassy to be moved, as did Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Trump had pledged in a meeting with Netanyahu in September to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital if he is elected president.

"Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel," his campaign said in a statement at the time.

Netanyahu caused controversy when he ruled out a Palestinian state ahead of a 2015 general election, but later backtracked and has since expressed support for the two-state solution.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump's victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the centre of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause
- Naftali Bennett

Israel captured the Arab eastern half of Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and annexed it in 1980, declaring all of Jerusalem Israel's unified capital.

The US - and most other UN member countries - do not recognise the annexation and consider Jerusalem's final status to be a key issue to be resolved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The US Congress passed a law in October 1995 calling for an undivided Jerusalem to be recognised as Israel's capital and to authorise funding for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

But no US president - Democrat or Republican - has implemented the law, regarding it as an infringement on the executive branch's authority over foreign policy.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while the Israelis call the entire city their eternal indivisible capital. 

Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his election win, calling him "a true friend of the state of Israel" with whom he "looks forward to working with... to advance security, stability and peace in our region".

Agencies contributed to this report

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