Shaked sets redlines ahead of Paris conference

In interview, justice minister nixes settlement freezes, prisoner releases.

Ayelet Shaked
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will collapse if he violates redlines set by Bayit Yehudi ahead of the Paris peace conference that begins Friday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Thursday in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Shaked said she hoped the interview would be read in Paris by the delegates to the conference so they will know that if they are expecting gestures from Netanyahu to the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table, his hands are tied.
“There is no problem with talking,” she said. “But giving something in response for talking is unacceptable. We will not sit in a government that freezes settlements. We will not sit in a government that releases murderers.”
Bayit Yehudi has continued to serve in governments that have made both of those gestures to the Palestinians. But Shaked said her party accepted a settlement freeze when led by former leaders, not current chairman Naftali Bennett.
When reminded that Bayit Yehudi did not leave the government under Bennett’s leadership when murderers were released from Israeli prisons, she said the murderers had been in prison for more than 20 years and that Bennett prevented prisoner releases of more recent murderers and of Israeli-Arab murderers.
Shaked said she believed Netanyahu was genuinely interested in starting a regional diplomatic process, though she does not believe it will succeed, but not due to the Israeli side.
Bayit Yehudi is not opposed to the Zionist Union joining the coalition, but is unwilling to give up its portfolios to facilitate the expansion of the government.
Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon called upon the Zionist Union to join the coalition Wednesday but Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog rejected the offer.
“Kahlon can forget about getting us to give legitimacy to the Netanyahu government’s wrong ways,” the Zionist Union said in a statement Thursday. “We oppose the government’s path and we will not join it.”