Two days after he compared Naftali Bennett’s national-religious Jewish Home party to the Islamist Hamas, Hatnua MK Amram Mitzna reiterated his comparison Saturday and added that “both groups share the same goal, that is a state that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan.”
Mitzna accused Jewish Home of trying to lead Israel toward an “irreversible reality” and of undermining dialogue with the Palestinians at every opportunity.
Speaking to Channel 2’s Meet the Press, the left-leaning former general from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s centrist party, said that if Israel does not “separate” from the Palestinians in the framework of a two-state solution, “there will be no Zionism, no Jewish state and no democracy.”
He blasted Bennett for calling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “mega-terrorist” earlier in the week while Abbas’s PA is cooperating with Israeli forces in the West Bank to locate three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped June 12. Israel has named two Hamas men as being behind the kidnapping.
Mitzna also reiterated his call for the Hatnua party, led by Livni, who was also chief negotiator with the Palestinians, to leave the Netanyahu government in the absence of a peace process.
US-brokered talks with the Palestinians collapsed in late April, after a nine-month process brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
On Thursday, Mitzna had accused Jewish Home of being like Hamas, minus the terrorism.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Mitzna said that, just like Hamas, the Jewish Home party wouldn’t recognize previous agreements that Israel has signed with the Palestinians. He contended that since the government expects that the Palestinians, including Hamas, honor the agreements, it should demand that Jewish Home do the same.
“If you take Hamas and remove from it the terror aspect, to which I’m obviously completely opposed, don’t you basically have an organization sitting in the Israel government that has the same goals as Hamas?” he said. “Have we heard the Jewish Home say that it stands behind the agreements that the government has signed, such as the Oslo Accords and other agreements?”
Mitzna’s remarks came after Bennett accused Abbas of terrorism Thursday over claims that Abbas pays millions of shekels every month to convicted Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Bennett said that Abbas was a “mega-terrorist” because he used PA money to encourage the murder of Jews. He asserted that some of the prisoners were earning NIS 12,000 ($3,500) a month from the PA.
Bennett also criticized president-elect Reuven Rivlin for praising Abbas after the Palestinian leader called for the release of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Rivlin had said that Abbas’s appeal was “an opportunity to restore trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” but Bennett dismissed Abbas’s statements as “pathetic” unless backed up with real actions.
Mitzna called on Netanyahu to remove Bennett from the security cabinet over his comments.
Netanyahu for his part sharply reprimanded Mitzna for his statements, saying that while differences of opinion in the Knesset were acceptable, “one must stay within the lines of truth and decency. Mitzna crossed both those lines.”