Livni to Bennett: Don't Preach to Me About Rights to the Land
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni had harsh words for Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday evening, after Bennett gave a speech in which he rejected a peace agreement based on the pre-1967 lines.
Speaking to law students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Livni accused “radicals” of sabotaging the peace process. She also called on Bennett not to preach to her about Jewish right to the land of Israel.
"On my way here I heard the speech of another minister in the government, which sounded patriotic - a strong army, a people holding on to their land,” she said, mocking Bennett.
"The argument is not an argument about a right,” declared Livni. “No one will preach to me about who believes more about the right of the people of Israel to the land of Israel. I believe that the people of Israel have a right to the entire land of Israel, but the argument is not about this issue. The question is whether the Zionist vision comes at the price of a Jewish democratic state.”
She continued, "Part of the problem is that the average politician is split between those who elected him - members of a party’s central committee and ideological organizations which take control of the parties to promote a specific agenda which is usually more radical than that of voters - and the general public. That’s how we find ourselves waking up once a week to read headlines about annexing the Jordan Valley.”
"The ministers are not stupid - they understand that this harms the State of Israel, its security, that we are currently in the midst of a process that deals with maintaining our security. But they play the game, because they owe the radical groups within their party. So why not also propose a bill that would forbid us from negotiating, just because Miri Regev wants to gain a few more votes from her own party?” charged Livni.
“Those who do not make the distinction between isolated settlements and settlement blocs are those who will ultimately send us back to the ‘1967 borders,'" she claimed. "This makes me angry because it’s deceit - they are trying to claim that there are those who are concerned over security and who are speaking in the name of Zionism and the land of Israel, and the rest do not.”
"I'm angry because this is not just about political differences - this is a case where a minority imposes its opinion on the majority for decades,” said Livni.
In his speech earlier Tuesday, Bennett said that the words “1967 borders” have been used to conceal the true weight of the concessions being demanded by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“Friends, the games are over. We won’t play with words anymore: the ’67 lines’ means splitting Jerusalem, and giving up the Mount of Olives – where Menachem Begin, Rabbi Kook, and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda are buried – and giving up the Kotel, the Temple Mount and the Old City,” he declared.
“How will history remember a leader who agrees to give up Jerusalem? How will it remember the first leader in Jewish history who dares to do that? And what’s more, to do it voluntarily?” Bennett asked.
A concession like that may win Israel temporary goodwill from the international community, Bennett said, but it would come at a high price: “another round of attacks and terrorism, which we would come into weaker than before, and with no moral right to defend ourselves after having declared that what is ours – is not ours,” he warned.
Livni, who has been relentless in her insistence on pursuing a peace agreement with the PA, has locked horns with Bennett on more than one occasion over this issue.
Last month, she attacked the Jewish Home party, accusing it of deliberately seeking to sabotage talks by advocating construction projects for Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria
Livni has called for talks to continue at any price, even as the PA continues its daily incitement against Israelis. She also recently said that Israel should ignore terrorism and continue with the peace process.