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Palestinian State 'Would Crush the Israeli Economy'

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett says boycotts could harm Israel a little, but giving land away would destroy Israel's economy.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 1/20/2014, 5:21 PM

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) warned Israel Monday that implementing a "two-state solution" by surrendering land in Judea and Samaria would ruin Israel's economy. 

"Recently we've seen a lot of economic pressure on Israel, pressure which is escalating and pushing the State of Israel to divide our land and give it away - or suffer economic consequences," Bennett explained, during a faction meeting. "But I say the opposite is true: dividing the Land of Israel would crush the Israeli economy." 

Bennett demonstrated on a map what the borders would look like if Judea and Samaria were given to the Palestinian Authority (PA), showing that the region provides access for missiles to fall on the center of Israel, especially the Tel Aviv area. 

"Imagine if just one missile per day fell on Herzliya Pituah, what that would do to Israel's economy. If even one plane which was supposed to land at Ben Gurion Airport crashes (due to terrorism) per year, it would crush the Israeli economy," he elaborated. 

The Economics Minister explained, "Do you know how I know this? Because my company has been there. 95% of my company is exports, and I know what it's like to lose a tender because I am Israeli, or because Israeli cities - Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - are being blown up [by suicide bombings]. I know what it means to feel that you must hide the fact that you're Israeli."

Bennett explained, "The Land of Israel has belonged to the people of Israel for thousands of years. This is a fact." 

"But now, for 20 years that there has been a determination [by the international community] to divide our country and hand it over to the Palestinians - they just keep switching the reasons for it," he continued. "Once they told us it would bring peace; now we can't even believe in that. Later they said it would bring security - until they [Palestinian Arabs] began killing Israelis. Then they claimed it was a problem of demographics; now they've pulled the next argument - economic pressure."

"We have had economic pressures place upon us - I'm not denying it," Bennett fired. "There may be a budding boycott movement, but why should we give away our land because of it? Why should we divide Jerusalem because of that?" 

Bennett called on the Prime Minister to "stand strong," and promised that "the people of Israel will stand behind" him if he did. 

Bennett's words closely resemble similar calls for the Prime Minister to remain strong in the face of international pressure by MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home). Shaked, approaching the issue with an appeal to Zionist values rather than economic concerns, also stressed that keeping and building more Jewish communities is the "lifeblood of Zionism."  

The European Union has been unrelenting in its criticism of Israel's construction in Judea and Samaria. The EU promotes boycotts of products made beyond 1949 Armistice lines, and has effectively redrawn Israel's borders to those lines in policies to its member states.

Recently, the EU has gone so far as to offer "unprecedented" aid packages to both Israel and the PA in the event that a two-state solution - and a withdrawal - results from negotiations.