"Because of the above sentence, and the language used in the article in general, many readers would presumably conclude that Edelstein and his Likud party or Israel's governing coalition, then, might be flexible on the issue of Palestinian statehood. This is, however, not the case at all, and readers ought to know."
July 31, 2023
Steve Bartlett, Senior Managing Editor, SaltWire
Dan Williams, Journalist, Reuters
Brian Moss, Trust Principles, Reuters
Dear Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Williams, Mr. Moss
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to express concern regarding a Reuters article published by Saltwire on July 30 titled “Israel deputy says normalization with Saudi does not appear imminent.”
Your article takes at face value the comments made by Yuli Edelstein, a senior member of the Likud Party who has described himself as a “proud… settler of Judea and Samaria.”[i]
Mr. Williams writes:
“[Edelstein] brushed off the possibility that the impasse between Netanyahu’s hard-right government and the statehood goals of the politically divided Palestinians was the main obstacle.”
Because of the above sentence, and the language used in the article in general, many readers would presumably conclude that Edelstein and his Likud party or Israel's governing coalition, then, might be flexible on the issue of Palestinian statehood. This is, however, not the case at all, and readers ought to know.
The original Likud Party Platform in 1977 opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, claiming that the West Bank “will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty.”[ii] The 1999 Likud Party platform stated that “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”[iii] The Likud Party voted in 2002 and 2017 that it will never agree to a Palestinian state under any circumstances.[iv]
Currently, the party has signed the coalition government’s statement of principles which claims an “exclusive” right for the Jewish people to the entire “Land of Israel,” including the occupied Palestinian territories.[v]
Further, the Saudi government has repeatedly and consistently stated that Palestinian statehood will be the main factor in determining whether or not Saudi Arabia will agree to peace with Israel as stated in the Saudi Peace initiative more than 20 years ago.[vi] As such, it is hard to believe Mr. Edelstein’s comment that the question of Palestinian statehood is not be a primary obstacle.
I insist that you include the following information to provide essential context about Likud and its views on Palestinian statehood:
“Likud is a right-wing political party which is opposed to a Palestinian state under any circumstances and believes that the territory under Israeli control belongs exclusively to the Jewish people. It has origins in Zionist terrorist organizations in the 1930s-1940s.”
Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Director of Strategic Operations, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
[i] Tamar Pileggi, “Rebuffing protest, Edelstein says he’s proud to be a settler,” February 22, 2016, https://www.timesofisrael.com/rebuffing-protest-edelstein-says-hes-proud-to-be-a-settler/.
[ii] Likud Party: Original Party Platform (1977), Jewish Virtual Library, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/original-party-platform-of-the-likud-party
[iii] Likud – Platform from 1999, archived copy of webpage on the State of Israel website, https://web.archive.org/web/20070930181442/https://www.knesset.gov.il/elections/knesset15/elikud_m.htm
[iv] NPR, “Analysis: Israel's Likud Party Votes to Reject the Possibility of a Palestinian State,” May 12, 2002, https://legacy.npr.org/programs/watc/transcripts/2002/may/020512.gradstein2.html; Jerusalem Post, “Likud votes to oppose Palestinian state,” July 27, 2017, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/likud-votes-to-oppose-palestinian-state-500847
[v] Times of Israel, “Judicial reform, boosting Jewish identity: The new coalition’s policy guidelines,” December 28, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/judicial-reform-boosting-jewish-identity-the-new-coalitions-policy-guidelines/
[vi] The Council of Arab States, “The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002.”