Daily Israel Report

Bennett: Why Should Israel Pay for US Policy Mistakes?

Economics Minister insists Israel focus on looking out for its own interests, says Kerry's plan 'would bring tragedy to Israel'.
By David Lev
First Publish: 2/6/2014, 8:30 AM

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash90

The United States has made many mistakes in its Middle East Policy, and it is Israel that has paid for those mistakes, Economics Minister Naftali Benefit said Thursday. Speaking to Israel Radio, Bennett pointed out to a range of what he said were errors and miscalculations by the U.S., vowing that he would not allow Washington to impose yet another tragic mistake on Israel.

“Washington insisted on instituting elections for the Palestinians, and they elected Hamas,” Bennett said. “Washington insisted that Israel withdraw from Gaza, and in return we got tens of thousands of rockets on southern Israel, after democratically elected Hamas took over Gaza.”

Now, a new idea has cropped up – having NATO troops defend Israel in the Jordan Valley and other areas that Israel withdraws from in Judea and Samaria as part of a final-status agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Like the other ideas the U.S. has had, this one would bring tragedy to Israel, and Israelis must make sure this does not happen, Bennett said.

“We will never let anyone else be responsible for our security,” said Bennett. “Only the IDF will defend Israelis. In recent weeks we have been told that if we make a deal with the Palestinians then prices will go down, but if we don't Israel will be isolated and forsaken. I would suggest that all these people making these threats think twice. Israelis are stronger than these threats, and no one will persuade us to destroy our national home with these threats.”

Bennett added that he had nothing against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and he was very appreciative of Israel's special relationship with the United States. Neither Kerry nor the Obama administration were “anti-Semites,” as some were saying, he said, but it was up to Israel to look out for its own interests, and to make the decisions it needed to make to defend itself.

If a framework for an agreement is presented, he added, it would be brought to Israelis for a referendum.