Bennett: ‘Danger’ That PM Netanyahu Will Give Up Territory

YERUSHALAYIM -
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Education Minister Naftali Bennett. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Likud and its leader, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are quite capable of negotiating away parts of the Land of Israel, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview Tuesday, and there is no way Jewish Home Party will allow that to happen.

Speaking to Kol Chai radio, Bennett said that withdrawals from Yehudah and Shomron were out of the question – and unnecessary. “We can come to an agreement without having to withdraw from land,” MK Bennett said. “Things have changed. The countries of this region, especially the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, have common interests with us, especially in opposing Iran. They need our cooperation regardless of the Palestinians. We should be taking advantage of that, developing that strategy instead of trying to pump life back into the Oslo process.”

Bennett gave the interview hours before the prime minister and U.S. President Donald Trump were set to speak in their main addresses. President Trump is expected to present a broad outline of a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  An Egyptian report Monday said that U.S. President Donald Trump will invite PM Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to a peace summit, to be held either in Egypt or Washington. The report in Egyptian state-controlled Al-Achbar daily, quoted by Israel Radio, said that it was likely that Jordanian and Saudi Arabian officials would be invited to the summit as well.

The purpose of the summit, according to the report, is to develop a Trump-sponsored road map for peace, in which both Israel and the PA will be asked to come up with creative ideas to break the impasse between them. The idea for the summit was finalized Sunday, when President Trump met with top Saudi officials during his weekend visit to that country.

Such summits are dangerous, said Bennett; the Likud, and Netanyahu himself, have proved quite capable of giving up land under pressure. “They have already given up land,” in Sinai, Chevron and elsewhere. “Netanyahu still stands behind the speech he gave at Bar Ilan University, calling for two states. I can understand that during the administration of [President] Obama we were in a defensive position, but with President Trump, our stance can and must change. We will stand firm against any land evacuations,” Bennett added.

That means Jewish Home will leave the coalition if it has to, Bennett said – even if Zionist Camp or Yesh Atid jump in to take their place. “I’m not in the government for a seat at the Cabinet table, but to fight for my ideals,” Bennett said. “If Netanyahu wants to create a Palestinian state he can do it with Yitzchak Herzog of Zionist Camp. I will fight with all my strength against this.”