Jewish Home Chairman, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, is not optimistic about the possibility that the US will free Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel's agreeing to carry out the fourth stage of the terrorist prisoner release it offered as “a gesture” to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"I am very skeptical, I have not yet seen the US putting its hand in its pocket on the Pollard matter,” Bennett said on IDF Radio. “I don't estimate that this will happen. In any case, I will be briefed later and I will bring it before the faction.”
Bennett repeated his criticism of the idea that terrorists need to be freed in exchange for the “right” to negotiate with Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen.
"We have to bribe Abu Mazen all day long because we want to negotiate with him,” complained Bennett. “This is a lopsided formula.”
Bennett said that he is not overly concerned about the PA's threat to turn to the UN unilaterally.
"He also has a lot to lose,” Bennett said about Abbas. “Abu Mazen lives on the spears of the IDF and off the the donations from the US. He would not last a minute and a half without the state of Israel, so let him stop threatening, and let us stop paying him prices.”
"This is a farce," he added. "We entered the government and knew that the negotiations are going in a certain direction. We said – 'go negotiate, take as long as you need,' but the idea of continuing to release terrorists in exchange for the right to negotiate with Abu Mazen – that is over. How long can we continue to be suckers? The man says – 'I will never ever recognize you' – how much can we demean ourselves?”
It has been announced that US Secretary of State John Kerry will interrupt a visit to Italy to meet with Abbas in Jordan. Kerry's surprise trip to Amman, which will take place on Wednesday, aims "to continue to narrow the gaps between the parties", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, according to AFP.