Bennett rejects Trump plan for Palestinian state, demands annexation now

Bennett said he and his party would not agree to transfer “a centimeter” of land to “the Arabs,” adding that Yamina existed to “protect the Land of Israel.”

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett meets with IDF officials on January 28, 2020 (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett meets with IDF officials on January 28, 2020
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Minister Nafatli Bennett on Tuesday rejected US President Donald Trump's peace plan, saying Israel should never recognize a Palestinian state. He called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex all Israeli settlements in the West Bank immediately.
Bennett, head of the right-wing, religious Yamina party, said he and his party would not agree to transfer “a centimeter” of land to “the Arabs,” adding that Yamina existed to “protect the Land of Israel.”
Speaking following the unveiling of the Trump plan, Bennett said the country was standing before a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “determine the territory of our country” and “an opportunity to bring all the Israeli settlements in the Land of Israel into the sovereign State of Israel,” adding that the decision was in Israel’s hands.
“In the coming days a government resolution must be brought to the cabinet to apply Israeli sovereignty to all the territories of the settlements,” Bennett said, listing the Jordan Valley, the Gush Etzion region and the large cities of Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and others, as well as “all 150 settlements” built since the 1967 Six Day War.
“We cannot miss this opportunity, we cannot delay till after the elections, because by then it will already not happen,” he said. “We cannot be satisfied with just partial sovereignty over just the Jordan Valley, for example.”
Bennett said if Netanyahu takes this “full and courageous step,” then Yamina would give him its full backing, adding: “The Land of Israel is more important than elections.”
“We will not allow the government of Israel to recognize a Palestinian state in any situation,” he said. “We will not allow Israel to give one centimeter of ground to the Arabs.”
The far-right Otzma Yehudit party also rejected the plan.
“The basic agreement to a Palestinian state abrogates the basic right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel,” party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said, adding: “Otzma Yehudit will oppose any formula that includes transferring [away] the territory of the Land of Israel and will pressure the prime minister not to give up on the dream of the entire Land of Israel in return for the expression ‘peace.’”
And so did the Sovereignty Movement, calling the the Deal of the Century, "a bad deal for Israel. 
"The Land of Israel is the sole homeland of the Jewish people," the movement said. "The Land of Israel belongs to us, to the generations that preceded us and the generations that have yet to come. One does not conduct business or make deals on a homeland."

Labor-Gesher-Meretz leader Amir Peretz said there still must be negotiations with the Palestinians to bring about two states for two peoples, and Netanyahu had no legitimacy to negotiate due to his indictments.
Joint List faction chairman Ahmad Tibi called the plan “a dangerous wedding without a bride.” He said Trump was “a president in the process of being toppled” who had given an election gift to Netanyahu.”
Left-wing organizations also blasted the plan.
“What the Palestinians are being offered is not rights or a state but permanent apartheid,” B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad said. “No marketing or packaging can erase the shame or blur the facts.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said he welcomed that the Trump plan included a long-held aspect of his party’s own platform, the population transfer of Israeli Arab towns in northeast Israel to the putative Palestinian state.
Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, head of the National Union, a constituent party of Yamina, said he rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state but welcomed Trump’s recognition of Israel’s territorial claims to the settlements and territory in the West Bank in biblical terms.
He also called for the immediate annexation of the portions of territory in the West Bank that are designated to Israel under the Trump plan.
“On Sunday, G-d willing, it will happen. Those who dare, win,” Smotrich said.
“The American recognition of the biblical and historic right of the Jewish people over the entire Land of Israel is the realization of a substantial stage in the words of the prophets,” he said, adding that he and his party would not accept a Palestinian state.
“From our perspective, it is sovereignty now, an Arab state never,” Smotrich said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.