Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday evening that his party will leave the coalition if Israel agrees to release Israeli-Arab terrorists as part of a framework agreement to extend peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"Israel has been facing a new situation in recent days with the Palestinian appeal to the UN which flagrantly violated all the agreements with them since the Oslo Accords until today,” said Bennett.
“The emerging deal, if it includes the release of murderers with Israeli citizenship, harms Israeli sovereignty, and not only that - it is done being when the Palestinians have not cancelled their requests to join international organizations,” he added.
"Therefore, if a proposal for release of Israeli murderers comes before the Cabinet, the Jewish Home will oppose it,” Bennett declared. “If the proposal will pass - the Jewish Home will resign from the government, which frees murderers with Israeli citizenship. Enough is enough.
“On this evening of Passover, it is important to remember that we went from slavery to freedom so we that we can have an Israeli legal system which will protect the citizens of Israel - not a system that is being blackmailed by a gang of terrorists and which releases murderers,” said Bennett. “This is an act of extortion and surrender to terrorism which we cannot accept.
“I wish the citizens of Israel a Happy Passover, and I hope that our brother Jonathan Pollard will be released soon, but not in the immoral way that is this currently being suggested,” he concluded.
Bennett’s comments came hours after it was reported that a deal freeing Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israeli-held Arab terrorist convicts and an extension of peace talks will be carried out in the coming days.
The deal was reported on Channel 2 and Channel 10. Al Arabiya also reported that the deal was about to be finalized. A U.S. official later denied the reports.
PA sources have clarified they don't intend to back down on their demand for the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists promised as part of "gestures" for the peace talk. While the last batch, including the Israeli-Arab terrorists, was cancelled last Thursday, Israel has not ruled out their future release, saying a discussion on the issue will be held.
Abbas said Thursday morning that he would be open to the idea of extending the peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline, setting as a precondition that eastern Jerusalem be accepted as an Arab capital.