Bennett threatens to ‘topple government’ to prevent Palestinian state

Jewish Home leader vows to ‘stand as fortified wall’ against ‘historic mistake’ to retreat to 1967 line, divide Jerusalem

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett talks to Channel 2 in an interview segment aired on June 2, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett talks to Channel 2 in an interview segment aired on June 2, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)

Education Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett vowed to topple the Likud-led government if necessary in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Bennett told Channel 2 in an interview segment aired Thursday that the Jewish Home was “the only party” and he “the only leader who says there won’t be a Palestinian state established here.”

The complete interview will air Saturday evening on the channel’s “Meet the Press” show.

“As long as we are here [in the coalition], a Palestinian state will not be established… and Jerusalem will not be divided,” Bennett said.

Responding to recent promises made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to pursue a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Bennett vowed to “stand as a fortified wall against historic mistakes,” making a reference to the Hebrew name of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Bennett noted that Palestinian statehood was not part of the government’s policy guidelines as set down in last year’s coalition talks when Netanyahu sought to form his government after the elections.

“We’re in a government that I insisted not have [the establishment of] a Palestinian state in its guidelines,” he said.

“If we are talking about a return to the 1967 lines and the division of Jerusalem, I won’t just resign from the government, I’ll topple it,” vowed Bennett.

Bennett’s withdrawal of his eight-seat party from the coalition, which has a scant majority of 66 MKs, would effectively topple it.

Likud efforts to bring in the largest opposition party, Zionist Union, into the coalition failed last month, with both sides blaming each other for the break down.

Netanyahu has repeatedly called on the party’s leader, Isaac Herzog, to reconsider and join the government.

According to a Haaretz report on Thursday, Likud efforts were now being refocused on the party’s number two, Tzipi Livni, a strong opponent of Herzog’s negotiations with the Likud.

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