MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) on Tuesday slammed Economy Minister and Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett for saying that a Palestinian state would crush the Israeli economy.
Horowitz said that it was Bennett himself who was destroying the Israeli economy by making such statements, adding that comments such as Bennett’s encourage boycotts of Israel.
"An Economy Minister who claims that a Palestinian state will crush Israel’s economy should be fired,” he declared. “Such statements reinforce European economic sanctions on Israel, they are irresponsible statements and Israeli citizens are the ones who will pay the price.”
"The government is causing Israel to roll down a slope that will lead to international isolation and economic boycotts," Horowitz charged. “Continued settlement construction is what costs the Israeli economy hundreds of millions".
The success of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority will actually improve Israel's economy, he argued, “first and foremost because it would prevent the enormous damage that this government causes in its isolation policy and ultimately because of the regional cooperation that will start as a result of the arrangement."
"Either Netanyahu is too busy with political survival and is avoiding taking steps that show leadership,” said Horowitz, "or his ministers simply do not obey him and do whatever they want or they express aloud his real intentions.”
In his remarks Monday, Bennett warned 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.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni criticized Bennett after his remarks, saying that he “must decide if he represents the Israeli people, or just the residents of isolated settlements.”
"In these trying times, when both left-wing and right-wing businessmen are deeply concerned about the future of the Israeli economy, the person in charge of that economy actually prefers to listen to extremist Rabbis," Livni claimed.