Israel will build settlement homes in the West Bank to make up for the release of terrorists, Ayelet Shaked vowed in the Knesset on Monday, while highlighting the hypocrisy she saw in the government decision to agree to the phased release of 104 Palestinian prisoners as a means to restart peace talks.
“For every murderer who will be released, dozens of homes will be built in Judea and Samaria,” Shaked said. “That is how it has been since the dawn of Zionism. That is the concept. We build and they [the Palestinians] kill. Each one does what they are best at.”
Shaked, from the coalition’s religious-nationalist Jewish Home party, spoke during a Knesset debate on the budget, and sarcastically offered a solution to reducing the government deficit by asking why the state bothers spending so much effort and resources in apprehending terrorists if they are then released.
“Instead of raising VAT, we can just drastically cut the defense budget,” she said. “We can also cut back on the ‘advocacy for Israel’ budget, since it is pointless. Why do we bother telling the world lofty legends about fighting terror if, in contrast to the Americans, who refuse to release even [Jonathan] Pollard — who didn’t kill anyone, who has been rotting in prison for 28 years — we are releasing 104 abominable terrorists who murdered women and children? And for what? For the right to send [prime ministerial envoy Yitzhak] Molcho to speak with [Palestinian negotiator] Saeb Erekat.
On Sunday, the US State Department officially announced the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians on Monday.
“The Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and [Netanyahu emissary] Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh,” the State Department said.
The path was cleared to the resumption of the talks when the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 104 Palestinian security prisoners, a central Palestinian demand.
The prisoners, some of whom are serving life sentences for deadly terror attacks, are to be released in several phases, contingent on the progress of negotiations.