Smotrich Warns Current Deals with PA Will Lead Back to Oslo

MK Bezalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionism party, giving a speech in the Knesset on Thursday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Bennett-Biden government has embarked on a dangerous process of secretly negotiating with the Palestinians, Religious Zionism leader Betzalel Smotrich charged on Thursday.

“Secretly, behind Israelis’ backs, a dangerous diplomatic process was started immediately after the government was formed, which will bring us back to the Oslo days,” he said in the Knesset, referring to the 1993 accords.

Smotrich’s speech came in response to media reports on Wednesday of a series of goodwill gestures made by Israel after a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Gantz agreed to a large loan to the PA to help out through an ongoing financial crisis, permits for thousands more Palestinians to work in Israel, easing restrictions on the Gaza fishing zone, among other measures.

Smotrich warned that “we are in the midst of a political process” that has “repeatedly exploded on us in buses, in city centers and in the thousands killed and wounded. In secret, and behind the backs of the citizens of Israel, immediately after the formation of this government, a dangerous political process was initiated that takes us back to the days of Oslo,” when peace efforts were accompanied by mass terror attacks, Arutz Sheva quoted him as saying.

“It’s not even a negotiation. It’s giving and giving,” he said.

“So Bennett did not meet with Abbas himself, and even created a seemingly well-publicized quarrel. He does not need it. He has Gantz as a proxy, a messenger for that matter.”

He alleged that funds would come from the Israeli taxpayer and would end up in the hands of terrorists. “Terrorist money is laundered through a revolving door. I received the information that 100 million shekels will be transferred to Abbas from the Israeli settlement funds from an internal source that is very involved in the details. No false denial by Bennett will change that.”

“It all depends on one person from the coalition. Stop it now. Do not make the mistakes of those sitting in left-wing governments who galloped into the abyss, gave them oxygen, and stopped only when it was too late,” Smotrich concluded, referring to the coalition’s dependence on a single vote to maintain its 61-MK majority in the Knesset.

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