Livni, Bennett spar over criticism of the US

Bennett challenges Livni for not standing up to PA negotiator Saeb Erekat when he said that Palestinian land was stolen.

February 4, 2014 02:39
1 minute read.

Nafatali Bennett and Tzipi Livni. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The parties inside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition continued to squabble Monday when Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni and Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett criticized each other over US efforts to broker a deal with the Palestinians.

Livni started the fight when in a meeting of the Hatnua faction she defended US Secretary of State John Kerry’s warnings of economic boycotts that could arise if a diplomatic deal is not reached. Bennett had sharply criticized Kerry for the warnings Saturday night.

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“Warning a man who sets sail that there is a storm ahead is not threatening him but expressing his concern,” Livni said. “Knowing how much the American secretary of state does to prevent boycotts, those who criticize him should be ashamed.”

Livni said that what really could cause Israel’s isolation was each stone built in isolated settlements. She accused those who attacked Kerry of attempting to harm Israel’s relations with the US in order to prevent a diplomatic agreement.

Bennett countered by challenging Livni for not standing up to Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat when he said that Palestinian land was stolen.

Bennett said she should have stood up for Israel but instead said that rather than dwell on past narratives they should focus on the future “Is the Bible a mere narrative?” he asked. “The Torah says God gave the land to the Jewish people. The Land of Israel belonged to the Jewish people thousands of years before there were Palestinians.”

Bennett said Israel needed to start emphasizing the justice of its cause rather than apologizing and conceding.

“You can’t buy values with dollars,” he said. “We will win the battle for justice as we have won every battle, with quiet, good spirit, and faith.”

Likud MK Moshe Feiglin warned against accepting any American framework.

“Adopting Kerry’s proposal would be suicide for Israel,” he said. “It would be hara-Kerry.”

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