Naftali Bennett speaking at the Bayit Yehudi central committee..
(photo credit: NACHSHON PHILIPSON)
Israel must immediately terminate its relations with the Palestinian Authority due to the deal it signed with Hamas in Cairo, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said on Saturday night.
Bennett, who is a member of the security cabinet, said he would formally issue the demand to Netanyahu at Sunday’s meeting of coalition heads. Bennett complained, in a statement he released, that Saleh al-Arouri, who signed the deal for Hamas, is responsible for the June 2014 abduction and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel.
“The Palestinians decided to form a terrorist government,” Bennett said. “Mahmoud Abbas’s joining with Hamas turns the Palestinian Authority into a terrorist authority.
Israel must sever any connection to this terrorist authority.
From now, any Israeli cooperation with Abbas is cooperation with Hamas.”
Bennett said the danger of the PA’s bond with Hamas must be stressed ahead of expected international pressure to resume negotiations in light of the Palestinian agreement.
“Due to our responsibility and concern for the security of Israel, the transfer of funds to the Hamas government must be stopped immediately so as to not be an ‘ATM for terrorism,’ especially since our abducted soldiers have not been returned, Israel has not been recognized and incitement and payment to terrorists have not been stopped,” Bennett said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) responded by accusing Bennett of issuing his demands for political reasons.
“Security coordination with the Palestinian Authority is an interest of Israel,” Liberman told Channel 2.
“There are those who prefer electoral interests. I prefer the security interests of Israel.”
Liberman accused Bayit Yehudi of “becoming messianic” and said he did not believe elections were on the way.
At a Shabbat cultural event in Beersheba, Labor chairman Avi Gabbay said his party would need 27 Knesset mandates to win the next election, adding that if he formed the next government, it would not include the Joint (Arab) List.
Joint List MK Dov Henin responded that “instead of replacing the government of the Right, Gabbay wants to partner with it.”
Henin said that for Gabbay to come to power, he would have to cooperate with the Arab community and its representatives in the Knesset.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen said that “in order to be an alternative to Netanyahu, Gabbay must “reject the discourse of exclusion and hate.”
At the event, Gabbay, who is set to deliver his first major address in English since his July election as Labor leader at The Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on December 6, was asked about his ability to speak English.
He spoke three sentences in English to the crowd in Beersheba.
“I am doing exactly the opposite of the way of Netanyahu,” Gabbay said.
“Netanyahu is dividing the people of Israel. We need someone who can unite the people of Israel.