A Palestinian woman argues with border policeman near the scene of attempted stabbing attack at a checkpoint in Kalandiya.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s “carrot and stick” policy for the West Bank was met with criticism on all sides Thursday.
Liberman’s new policy toward the Palestinians would involve harsher punishment for families and villages where terrorists reside and economic benefits for areas that have not produced terrorists. In addition, the Defense Ministry would try to find ways to “circumvent [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas” in negotiations.
On the Right, MKs and settlement leaders complained that his “carrots” for Palestinians would be “sticks” for Israelis in the West Bank.
“The idea of carrots and sticks is right and good,” MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said, “but it cannot be that the carrots harm rule of law and its authority.”
Kisch lamented that the Amona outpost is scheduled to be razed later this year, but that Liberman’s plan would legalize unlawful Palestinian construction in Area C, which is governed by Israel.
“Every authorization of Arab construction while, on the other side, there is a freeze in Jewish settlement, is a mistake and adds insult to injury,” he added.
The Land of Israel Caucus, led by Kisch and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) wrote in a letter to Liberman that benefits for the Palestinians will create “intolerable gaps for the Jewish population, which is the main victim of Palestinian terrorism.”
“It cannot be that the ‘carrots’...will only be for the Arab population,” they added.
Gush Etzion Regional Council chairman Davidi Perl, however, expressed support for Liberman’s plan, saying he will help bring it into effect.
“In this way, they will think twice about whether to commit an act of terrorism or to look for a job and live a quiet and peaceful life,” he said.
Still, Perl said Liberman should give construction permits to the Jewish population in the West Bank.
Many on the Left also criticized Liberman’s plan.
Former defense minister MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) said that while using the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories to speak with local Palestinian leaders and promote coexistence is important, but it is no replacement for dialogue between national leaders.
“A real solution with an agreement to end the conflict and other demands can only be achieved with formal, national leadership,” he stated. “Divide and conquer tactics failed in the past.”
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said Liberman is stuck in the ’70s and ’80s.
“The defense minister and government cannot avoid the only solution acceptable to the international community, two states for two nations,” Shai argued. “The defense minister’s plan is leading us to one state for two nations and the loss of the Zionist dream.”
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