Naftali Bennett blasts Lapid for Saudi Initiative endorsement

"The Saudi Initiative? Really Yair?" Bennett wrote. "We must not forget that a nation cannot occupy its own land."

September 21, 2015 18:18
2 minute read.
Lapid and Bennett

Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett wrote a scathing critique of Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid’s diplomatic plan, announced with great fanfare on Sunday.

Bennett and Lapid formed a political alliance in the previous Knesset and referred to each other as brothers. Bennett continued to call him a brother in his attack on Lapid, which he published on his Facebook page.

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Lapid’s plan calls for holding a regional summit under American auspices in which all sides would commit to negotiations based on the Saudi-Arab Initiative of 2002, which calls for the 22 Arab League member countries to normalize relations with Israel in return for the creation of a Palestinian state, a withdrawal in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

“Are you really ready to concede Jerusalem,” Bennett asked Lapid in the Facebook post. “Are you ready to give the Arabs the Golan Heights? Yes, Yair, that is included in the initiative. Are you ready to give up security control over Judea and Samaria? Are you ready to let Hamas turn Ramallah into Gaza? Are you in favor of evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, evacuate Ma’aleh Adumim and residents of the Jordan Valley and return to 67 lines, because that is the Saudi Initiative.”

Bennett noted a clause from the initiative that said Israel must withdraw fully to pre-1967 lines, which the Bayit Yehudi leader reminded Lapid means Israel would have to give up the Western Wall. Noting a recent speech by Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, Bennett said the Palestinians want all of Israel, including pre-1967 Israel.

“It always amazed me that the Israeli Left, which you joined today, does not listen to the other side, does not respect it enough to listen to what it truly wants,” Bennett wrote. “I listen to Zahalka. I listen to [Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas], and I believe them.”

Although Lapid said he had a problem with parts of the Saudi Initiative, Bennett mocked Lapid for endorsing an initiative that calls for a Palestinian “right of return.”

“The Saudi Initiative? Really Yair?” Bennett wrote. “We must not forget that a nation cannot occupy its own land.”

Though Lapid sparred on Twitter on Sunday with Likud minister Gilad Erdan, he chose not to respond on Bennett’s Facebook page. However, on his own page, without mentioning Bennett by name, he wrote that right wing politicians had completely distorted the content of his speech and his diplomatic plan.

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