Bennett clarifies party’s stance on Palestinian state

“We will not veto negotiations, but we won't agree to pay a price just to enable the negotiations," Bennett writes on Facebook.

June 24, 2013 01:43
2 minute read.
Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett arriving for cabinet meeting, April 28, 2013.

Naftali Bennett at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Yediot Aharonot)

Facing complaints from religious Zionists that his party should not remain in a government that will pursue a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett posted a lengthy explanation on his official Facebook page over the weekend clarifying his party’s stance on the Palestinian state issue.

The complaints came after Bennett declared that the two-state solution had hit a dead end at a conference with Jewish leaders from Judea and Samaria but said he would not stop negotiations with the Palestinians in an interview with The Washington Post. He said in the interview that he was very skeptical such talks would succeed because he expected the Palestinian leadership to balk.

“I think forming a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would condemn Israel to 100 years of unending conflict, millions of refugees flooding our land and overwhelming international isolation following a very short honeymoon,” Bennett wrote. “A Palestinian state would be a hostile, failed state like the Palestinian state that formed in the Gaza Strip in 2005-6 that is still functioning today but much more dangerous, because it would be a 30 second flight from Ben-Gurion Airport.”

Bennett wrote that withdrawing from Judea and Samaria would be a terrible mistake, just like the West Bank withdrawals in the 1990s that he said left more than 1,000 Israelis dead and the Gaza Strip disengagement, which according to him created a Hamas terrorist state and brought upon Israel thousands of missiles.

“Bayit Yehudi entered the government knowing that it included parties that support the creation of a Palestinian state,” Bennett wrote. “I believe in the sincerity of the positions of Netanyahu, Lapid and Livni but I think they are mistaken.”

Referring to comments by Lapid in recent interviews, Bennett said he rejected demographic arguments that not forming a Palestinian state would lead to Israel’s destruction.

He said such a narrative would only encourage the Palestinians to wait until Israel’s end instead of negotiating a deal.

“We will not veto negotiations,” Bennett wrote. “But we will not agree to pay a price just to enable the negotiations to take place. Want to negotiate? Proceed. If I am negotiating purchasing a car, I would not agree to pay NIS 5,000 for the right to discuss buying the car.”

Bennett called instead for considering alternatives to the creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel’s land. He said there were many ideas for alternatives.

“The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel and only in this land can we fulfill the special mission of the Jewish people,” he wrote.

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