'This is Our Country - Period'
Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Friday for making endless demands to continue peace talks.
''They demanded independence, and we gave it to them. They demanded recognition of a Palestinian state, and we gave it to them. They demanded weapons and we gave them to them. They demanded Hevron, and we gave it to them. They demanded Gaza, and we gave it to them. They demanded terrorist releases, and we gave it to them, again and again," Wortzman fired.
"In response: we received attacks, we received wounded and dead, we received damage to our economy," he continued. "Now they're coming back and demanding we withdraw to '67 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as their capital."
Wortzman rejected the PA's demands.
"If we do it, G-d forbid, what will they ask for tomorrow? It's time to demand that we stop giving," he stated. "It's time to put our existential needs and our security before their demands."
"The time has come to say it clearly: this is our country. Ours - period."
On Thursday, the PA imposed seven new conditions on peace with Israel. According to chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, these conditions are:
1. A written letter from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which he gives a commitment that the Palestinian state will be established and that its capital will be eastern Jerusalem.
2. The release of 1,200 terrorists, which the PA says was agreed upon when Ehud Olmert was prime minister. These include multiple-murderer Marwan Barghouti, PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat, and Fuad al-Shubaki, who was responsible for the attempt to smuggle a huge amount of arms into Gaza on board the Karine A.
3. Implementation of the agreement on checkpoints and removal of the siege on Gaza.
4. The return of the Church of Nativity expellees.
The IDF besieged the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem April 2 to May 10, 2002, as part of Operation Defensive Shield, after 39 terrorists had holed up there. The terrorists took shelter in the famous church, and used about 40 priests and nuns as a shield, knowing Israel would not take a chance on inadvertently hurting priests and nuns. The siege was ended through an agreement that involved exiling the terrorists to other countries.
5. The granting of full Israeli citizenship to 15,000 Palestinian Arabs in a process of family reunification.
6. A halt to construction in eastern Jerusalem and the reopening of PA institutions there which have been closed down by Israel.
7. No more entry by IDF forces into areas under PA control, no more arrests and eliminations, and the handing over of Area C to PA control.
Responding to Erekat, Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett wrote on his Facebook page, “You wanted a commitment? Here it is: eastern Jerusalem will never be your capital.”