In a move seen as a slap to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Likud Political Bureau on Tuesday night unanimously passed a resolution barring the acceptance of a Palestinian state, in apparent response to a recent statement in which the Prime Minister voiced openness to eventual recognition of an independent Palestine, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
The resolution specifically rejected a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. The wording harkened back to positions held by Sharon in the past, in which he maintained that the area occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan was the true Palestinian state and that the Palestinians should view it as such.
Several months ago, Sharon shocked hardliners by saying that of all of the Palestinians' rulers past and present, only Israel was willing to grant them a state.
Bureau chairman and Minister of Internal Security Uzi Landau, speaking at the end of the meeting, said that the decision was binding upon the Likud leadership and should be seen as official party policy.
The step, supported by many of Sharon's party rivals, among them supporters of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was also seen as a run-up to efforts to bring an anti-statehood resolution before the powerful Likud Central Committee.