War of Words Between Netanyahu, Bennett Heats Up

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) seen with Minister of Education Naftali Bennett during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on June 17, 2015. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** áéáé øàù äîîùìä áðéîéï ðúðéäå ðôúìé áðè ùø äçéðåê ëðñú îìéàä îìéàú äëðñú
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R.) seen with Education Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The war of words between Naftali Bennett and the Likud continued Sunday, as Bennett again emphasized that he would not allow the government to negotiate a return to the 1948 armistice lines. “There are those in Israel and around the world who subscribe to various Arab peace plans, according to which we will have to divide the land,” Bennett said Sunday at a Yom Yerushalayim event. “They want us to divide Yerushalayim and return to the 1967 lines. The world pressures, and we have to accede. To them I say, no, never again.

“You cannot be in favor of the Land of Israel in Hebrew and a Palestinian state in English,” Bennett said in an obvious reference to statements for support for the two-state solution, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and newly installed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had recently repeated in international media that they are in favor of. “Only when we are clear about what we want will the world leave us in peace. Until then, we will have to fight for Jerusalem’s liberation each day.”

In response, a senior Likud official was quoted by Yediot Aharonot as saying that “Bennett’s campaign of hypocrisy knows no limits. He sat in the previous government with Tzipi Livni while she was negotiating with the Palestinians. All of the sudden he discovered the light on the right, now that Avigdor Liberman has been made Defense Minister.

“If Bennett continues to insist that he will remove Jewish Home from the government because of this personal political game, he will be responsible for the result,” the source said. “He can’t sell this to the public as an ideological stance. No one is buying it. It’s ironic that the biggest danger to the most rightwing government in Israeli history is coming from a party that claims it is the most rightwing member of that government.”

Speaking at a Yom Yerushalayim event, Netanyahu said that while negotiations for peace were desirable, they needed to be conducted directly. “Peace is achieved through direct, face to face negotiations. International dictates will just distance peace. Those who refuse to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, those who deny our connection to Yerushalayim and turn the Har HaBayis to a platform for incitement, have a long way to go before they can reach peace,” he said.


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