This week Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were embroiled in a crisis, after Bennett criticized Netanyahu's proposal to have Jews live under the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) made a similar statement a month ago, albeit in a different context.
Walla reported Thursday that in a December 29 interview with I24news, Shaked said "if there will be a peace deal, I think that just as Arabs live in Israel, I don't see a reason why settlers shouldn't stay and live in the Palestinian state if they will want to."
The reporter asked "you're imagining a state in which Israeli Jews live under the PA?" to which Shaked responded "first, I don't think the two state solution will happen, but if it does, I don't understand why (PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas) wants a Palestinian state free of Jews. ...There are Arab villages in Israel, I think they deserve the same rights as me; I don't see why Jews shouldn't be able to live in the Palestinian state."
As noted, Bennett slammed Netanyahu's proposal to have Jews live in a PA-run state this week, saying "leaving Jews under foreign leadership is a 180-degree turn for Zionism." Bennett added that the proposal "reflects a panicked loss of values. 2,000 years of longing for the Land of Israel did not transpire so that we could live under Abbas's rule.”
Netanyahu responded by giving Bennett an ultimatum to apologize or resign, to which Bennett apologized for causing offence to Netanyahu while reiterating that it was his obligation to criticize a dangerous plan.
'I used the scenario to attack Abbas's racism and no more'
Shaked spoke about the interview this Thursday, saying "I emphasize in every interview on the topic, and also the specific interview (last December), that I strongly oppose the dangerous idea of two states, and I don't think such a scenario can take place."
"In that segment of the interview I used the imaginary scenario as an example attacking Abbas's racism and no more. Unfortunately, the declarations coming from the prime minister's office this week spoke about a true proposal from someone who agrees to a Palestinian state, and that can't be said," clarified Shaked.
Netanyahu's office claimed the proposal was a ploy to reveal the "true face" of the PA; in response on Sunday PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated that no Jews would be allowed to live in "Palestine."
After Shaked's statements last December, 4 Jewish Home MKs reportedly refused to comment on the interview, until MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) said "our fundamental principle has been said, by Naftali and by me. I saw the video (of Shaked) but we need to ask her what she exactly intended."
Yogev noted that Shaked opposed the idea of a Palestinian state throughout the interview, showing that her position is against such a state. Her statement was thus hypothetically, and even somewhat cynically, based on a peace she does not believe could happen.