Jewish Home leader says it’s ‘frustrating when people come from outside and think they have a magic solution.’ When they fail, ‘we’re stuck with the consequences’By David Horovitz for Times of Israel
Meeting with Times of Israel editorial staff on Monday morning, Naftali Bennett was at his most diplomatic: He didn’t once say the name John Kerry.
But the US secretary of state’s relentless efforts to chivy Israel and the Palestinians toward a peace accord, and Kerry’s assessment that Israel’s current relative security and prosperity are “illusional,” “momentary” and unsustainable, were the elephant in the (editorial) room.
Far from helping Israel achieve long-lasting tranquility, and helping the Palestinians flourish too, Bennett argued, 20 years of well-intentioned internationally brokered peace efforts have had the opposite effect — provoking violence and instability. “It’s a bit frustrating when people come from outside and think they have a magic solution,” he said, not mentioning Kerry. “They come. [Their] entering the fray creates a whole new wave of terror. And then when it fails, we’re stuck with the consequences.”
What’s needed, the Jewish Home party leader argued, are not good intentions but realistic ones. And his own “stability” plan — under which Israel would annex some 60 percent of the West Bank and grant full citizenship to the 70,000 Palestinians who live there, while giving the remaining Palestinians elsewhere in the territories self-government but not statehood — while admittedly “imperfect,” said Bennett, has the advantage of being realistic.
As minister of the economy, he also argued that Israel could survive the delegitimization and boycott efforts that would intensify were Israel to follow his lead and rule out Palestinian statehood. Israel has been boycotted throughout its brief modern history, he noted, and it would have to fight back. But the bottom line in his conception, Bennett made clear, is that the entire worldview that regards Israel as an occupying power when it comes to the Palestinians — a worldview that, he acknowledges, is shared by many Israelis — is factually incorrect and lies at the root of Israel’s battle for legitimacy.