PA slams Bennett for opposing Palestinian state

Says PM’s remarks to ‘Post’ expose his ‘extremist and anti-peace ideology’

Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh speaks to The Media Line in his office in Ramallah. (photo credit: THE MEDIA LINE)
Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh speaks to The Media Line in his office in Ramallah.
(photo credit: THE MEDIA LINE)

The Palestinian Authority has condemned Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying his remarks expose his “extremist and anti-peace ideology.”

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Friday, Bennett said that “this government set a diplomatic status quo. It’s OK that left-wing people like [Foreign Minister Yair] Lapid and [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz support the establishment of a Palestinian state, but my camp opposes it.”

Bennett said it would be “a terrible mistake to create a Palestinian diplomatic entity in our land.”

He added that while he does not forbid Lapid and Gantz from meeting with Palestinian officials, “I don’t think it’s right to meet with someone who is persecuting IDF officers in The Hague and transferring money to murderers.”

Bennett was referring to the PA leadership’s efforts to file “war crime” charges against IDF officers and Israeli officials with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the payments made by the PA to families of Palestinian security prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen looking out of his office window. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen looking out of his office window. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI)

Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the PA General Authority of Civil Affairs and a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said in response, “The end of the occupation and the establishment of the Palestinian state won’t wait for Bennett’s approval.”

Sheikh wrote on Twitter that the prime minister “should be aware that the number of countries recognizing the State of Palestine is greater than those recognizing Israel.

“Security, stability and peace will only be achieved with the end of the occupation and the establishment of the State of Palestine,” he said.

The PA Foreign Ministry also lashed out at Bennett, dubbing him an “extremist who does not miss any opportunity to express his deceitful ideology and hostile positions towards peace.”

Bennett has “surpassed [former prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in his rejection of political negotiations with the Palestinians and continues his mutiny against the signed agreements [between Israel and the Palestinians],” the ministry said.

Bennett’s positions, the ministry charged, “are based on the concept of force and arrogance, away from any visions related to political solutions and achieving peace through the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

The PA ministry warned of the consequences of Bennett’s “disastrous statements and stances on the arena and the region as a whole,” adding that they “are a clear disregard for the international and US positions rejecting settlements and calling for the implementation of the principle of the two-state solution as the only option for resolving the conflict.”

Referring to the prime minister’s remarks about the International Criminal Court, the ministry said that “Bennett, who sponsors Jewish settlement terrorism against the Palestinians, claims to fear international courts. Whoever fears the courts should stop committing crimes.”

The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the Palestinians are not waiting for permission from Bennett to establish their independent state.

“The Palestinian people and their national factions have never needed permission from Israel to obtain their rights,” the DFLP said. “Our people have scored achievements through all forms of resistance.”

The group called on Bennett to “wake up from his political coma and dark dreams and remember the struggle of the Palestinians, which forced the occupation forces to submit to the will of our people, as was the case during the last battle [between Israel and Hamas in May 2021].”

Hamas leader Izzat al-Risheq also denounced Bennett for opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying that his statements “reveal once again the reality of this enemy and its war against our land and people.

“The statements are a blow to those who continue to believe in the mirage of negotiations.”