Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett on Thursday clashed with Yossi Beilin, with the latter, an ex-Labor Party government minister and one of the architects of the Oslo accords, calling the hawkish politician a “liar” for saying the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians had resulted in the deaths of 1,600 Israelis.
During a debate on a morning program on Channel 10, Beilin charged that under right-wing leadership, Israel had neglected the peace process, leaving the Palestinians with no choice but to push forward with unilateral initiatives at the United Nations. And with the UN General Assembly set to approve the Palestinian application for nonmember state status, Israel — specifically Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Beilin said, was handing the Palestinians a state without receiving anything in return.
Palestinian unilateralism, Beilin continued, was the result of Israel’s own unilateral steps, including the 2005 disengagement plan, when then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, according to Beilin, “gave Gaza as a gift to Hamas” instead of handing it over to the Palestinians as part of a negotiated peace settlement.
Bennett, the newly elected leader of the national religious right-wing Jewish Home party, and an advocate of a unilateral Israeli annexation of much of the West Bank, appeared to agree with Beilin’s point about Netanyahu giving the Palestinians a state. But, he said, the solution was not to a resumption of peace negotiations.
“The Oslo Accords, a mutual agreement, caused the death of 1,600 Israelis,” Bennett charged, in what marked the end of the polite, if tense, ideological debate and the start of a shouting match.
Beilin cut him off.
“[Bennet] says this in every joint appearance,” he charged, arguing that the second intifada was not precipitated by the Oslo Accords but rather by Sharon’s infamous ascent to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 2000. “You lie, you lie, you lie,” he yelled.
“You’re insolent!” Bennet shot back. “You gave [the Palestinians] security control; we said we’d let them protect us… you can use this forum to apologize.”
The acerbic argument wound down only after the hosts cut in and insisted that the two end the exchange.