Bennett Demands Annexation on Eve of Peace Plan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Naftali Bennett. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

On the eve of the unveiling of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan, Israel’s right-wing alliance issued demands that will be hard to fulfill.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett declared that the Yamina party he now leads will support President Trump’s plan only on condition that Israel can annex large parts of Yehudah and Shomron as early as next Sunday.

“If they annex, we’ll support [the plan]. If they don’t annex, we won’t support [it],” Bennett said during a press conference in the city of Ariel in the Shomron.

He urged the government to act quickly and approve annexation during next week’s Cabinet meeting, according to media reports on Sunday.

“If this entire event ends without the extension of Israeli law now, before the elections, when the Americans are providing us tailwind and a chance to do so, then there won’t be a deal of the century, but rather a missed opportunity of the century,” he warned.

And, for good measure, Bennett reiterated the stance of Israel’s right wing in general and Yamina in particular, absolutely opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“Under no circumstances will we allow the establishment or recognition of a Palestinian state nor will we allow an inch of land to be turned over to the Arabs,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, Yamina MK Ofir Sofer was asked by The Jerusalem Post if his party would oppose any territorial concessions. In light of comments by authors of the administration peace plan that it will include “painful concessions” for both sides, such a position would probably preclude their support.

“We have a lot of respect and appreciation for President Trump, but at the end of the day, we have to be faithful to the Land of Israel,” Sofer answered.

Regarding whether Yamina would still be willing to join a Likud-led coalition that accepted some territorial concessions, Sofer said: “If Yamina is in the government, then there won’t be concessions.”