Senior gov’t minister challenges President Shimon Peres for suggesting Jerusalem is ready to continue peace negotiations on Arab terms.
By Tommy Mueller
Israeli Economic and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett this week publicly disagreed with President Shimon Peres that Israel has any more land to give in an already failed land-for-peace process.
“Every time we leave an area, more people are killed,” said Bennett in response to Peres’ appearance at the World Economic Forum in neighboring Jordan, where the Israeli president gushed that Israel is prepared to pay almost any price for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party and an influential member of the ruling coalition, said Peres’ vision of birthing a Palestinian Arab state on ancient Jewish lands is beyond faulty: “Now is the time to make it clear that this is our country and it is not for sale.”
Bennett is one of the chief players in an increasingly tense debate within the Israeli government over how to approach and handle the Middle East peace process, upon which the Obama Administration is again focusing an exaggerated amount of attention.
Bennett also pointed out that every day, mothers with children in the car are pelted with stones on the main roads in Judea and Samaria. For Bennett, there can be no difference between the residents of Tel Aviv and the 400,000 Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria, and the Israeli army must protect both equally.
Bennett (41) was a software entrepreneur in the United States, a multi-millionaire. He took the helm of the settler-friendly Jewish Home party in November 2012.
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