Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett is “an obstinate child who hopes his parents will set limits,” chief negotiator Tzipi Livni charged Wednesday in response to his recommendation that Israel annex the settlement blocs in the West Bank.
“I heard Bennett sent a letter to the prime minister in which he suggests annexing the [settlement] blocs,” Livni wrote in a Facebook post. “I was tempted to say, why not? Go for it. If you’re going to go crazy, go crazy all the way. Continue until we can no longer reach an agreement and we lose all that is precious to us. Why not!”
In a letter to Netanyahu, Bennett requested “to have a session as soon as possible on an alternative plan (Plan B) to begin the process of applying Israeli sovereignty on areas in Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control.”
“I briefly considered supporting it, on the condition that Bennett commits to action, not just to writing letters like an obstinate child who hopes his parents will set limits,” Livni continued. “But then I remembered that there are two children here. So despite the temptation, no thank you. I hope for our children a better, Zionist future.”‘
The economy minister listed some of the blocs he wants to annex, including Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, the settlements of Ofra and Beit El and more. These areas are home to 440,000 Israeli settlers, Bennett argued, and only tens of thousands of Palestinians, and would therefore not cause a demographic crisis and undermine the Jewish majority.
The negotiator and justice minister pointed to this list as an indication that the peace talks have a fighting chance, since “the Palestinians will be very happy to know that Bennett only wants the blocs and is willing to give up the rest. This is a good sign that we can secure negotiations with the world, and not against it.”