Economy Minister Naftali Bennett denounced Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday as “no different than [his predecessor] Yasser Arafat,” and that Israel would be better off annexing large swaths of the West Bank in order to safeguard its security needs.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Bennett assailed Abbas for “calling for a million martyrs to march on Jerusalem” as well as the Palestinian leader’s insistence that Israel accept the right of return of refugees who fled their homes in 1948.

The minister, who heads the pro-settler Bayit Yehudi party, also criticized American bridging proposals regarding the future of the Jordan Valley. According to Bennett, the suggestion that unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment along Israel’s eastern border could adequately replace a physical IDF presence there to make way for a Palestinian state was “an unrealistic idea.”

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