Israel should annex Area C of the West Bank in response to Monday’s swearing in ceremony of a unified Fatah-Hamas government made up of “terrorists in suits,” Economic Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett said.
“The sovereignty program that I proposed is the only available option today, to the Palestinian rejection of peace [with Israel] and to the refusal of the [Israeli] left this solution,” Bennett said.
The time has come to go on the offensive rather than act defensively and “to do what is good for Israel,” Bennett said.
The swearing in ceremony for the unity government in Ramallah occurred more than two decades after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and nine years after the 2005 Gaza withdrawal.
“Today, the Palestinian state’s agenda crashed into the wall of reality,” he said.
Hamas has a charter that calls for Jews to be killed and as a result, the government of Israel decided unanimously not to recognize it or maintain contact with it, Bennett said.
He warned that Israel must act on his annexation plan “because time was not working in its favor."
“Every day that passes in which we do not initiate and act, endangers Israeli citizens and broadcasts to the world that there is no price for terrorism against Jews,” Bennett said.
In the Knesset last week, Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis [Likud] said that the government opposed such a move, even though Akunis said he personally supported annexation plans.
Bennett met with Netanyahu in the last two weeks and The Jerusalem Post reported that the two men would discuss the possible annexation of Area C. But Bennett's office would not discuss details of the meeting.
Netanyahu has said that the best option for Israel is to negotiate a final status agreement with the Palestinians, but that such talks are impossible if Fatah aligns itself with Hamas. The moment Fatah announced that the unity government was pending, Israel suspended talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu is waiting for the moment when it is clear to him that negotiations with Palestinians are impossible before weighing alternative options.
However, in an interview he gave reporter Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg View, he indicated that he would not support any unilateral plan that called for territorial withdrawal. His comments made it seem as if he could be open to some sort of annexation plan, but he never explicitly stated that.
In the Goldberg interview he said “The idea of taking unilateral steps is gaining ground, from the center-left to the center-right,” Netanyahu said in the Goldberg interview.