Day before elections, Netanyahu reiterates “no Palestinian state on my watch”

Elections to be held in Israel tomorrow, polls show Zionist Union in lead by four seats; Netanyahu warns against removal of settlements; Herzog promises victory in elections, calls on vote for his party

Herzog and Netanyahu (Reuters)

Herzog and Netanyahu (Reuters)

Ahead of elections in Israel tomorrow, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that if reelected there would be “no Palestinian state on my watch”. Polls show that the opposition party, the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, are in the lead to win the elections for Israel’s 20th Knesset by four seats.

In an interview Monday afternoon, Netanyahu warned against a Herzog and Livni’s Zionist Union led government, stating that evacuation or removal of settlements from Judea and Samaria would allow radical Islam “to attack the State of Israel”. He stated “I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state today, and evacuate areas, is giving radical Islam an area from which to attack the State of Israel. This is the true reality that has been created in past years. Those that ignore it are burying their heads in the sand. The left does this, buries its head in the sand, time and again.”

The Prime Minister visited Har Homa, a growing Jewish region in East Jerusalem on his last day campaigning calling on members of his party Likud to “come home” stating that if reelected into government as Prime Minister he would “continue to stand firmly for (Israel’s) vital interests, compared with a left-wing government… ready to accept any dictate.” He added that these elections are a “fateful struggle, a close struggle. We must close this gap. We can close this gap.”

He promised to continue to build in Jerusalem stating, “My friends and I in Likud will preserve the unity of Jerusalem. We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the (international) pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital.”

Earlier on Monday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog promised he would be Israel’s next prime minister stating that “I promise: I will be a prime minister to everyone. For right and left, for settlers, Haredim, Druze, Arabs, Circassians. I will be prime minister for the center and for the periphery, for students and senior citizens… After a long period of division, I will unite Israel. For that goal I need your voice. The power to lead a change is in your hands. A change we have long hoped for. Tomorrow we can do it – together.

Herzog called on Israeli citizens to vote for his party, stating that votes for Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would “strengthen Bibi”. He stated that “Whoever wants Yesh Atid in the government has to vote for us. There’s no other choice. Whoever wants a change (in government) must not make a mistake here. The stakes are high,” confirming reports that his party could form a government with Yesh Atid by that “there will be no change if we don’t win.”

And just 12 hours before elections hit off in Israel, Tzipi Livni announced that she would forfeit being prime minister in a rotating government with Herzog.

Likud responded to the announcement stating, “Tzipi and Buji’s [Herzog] zigzags a cynical move meant to increase the gap between the Zionist Union and Likud in order to ensure the formation of a radical left government in partnership with the Arab list and the left-wing parties. Just as they surrendered to polls in this case, so they will surrender to international pressure to give up and retreat.”