Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) warned on Thursday evening against a deal that would see Israel releasing more terrorists in exchange for the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) being extended.
Elkin warned that agreeing to such a deal so long as the PA does not cancel its unilateral bid at the United Nations would portray Israel as weak and might even topple the government.
"Going back to this deal at this point in time shows weakness and rewards the Palestinians for their insubordination, and will only encourage them to attack the State of Israel in the international arena," said Elkin, amid reports 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.
He also warned that even if Jonathan Pollard is released as part of the deal, it could cause political turmoil.
"We cannot turn the other cheek when they spit in our face,” stressed Elkin. “When we went down this road of surrendering to Palestinian aggression, we always brought disasters upon ourselves. Signing a deal under current the conditions could lead to political upheaval and drag Israel to new elections.”
Sure enough, after Elkin’s warning, Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett announced 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.
“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,” said Bennett.
"Therefore, if a proposal for release of Israeli murderers comes before the Cabinet, the Jewish Home will oppose it,” he declared. “If the proposal will pass - the Jewish Home will resign from the government, which frees murderers with Israeli citizenship. Enough is enough.”
Likud officials were unfazed by Bennett’s threats, saying that if he wants to leave the government, no one will stand in his way.
"We are not keeping anybody in the government by force," the officials declared.
"This is a well-known method used by Bennett: to make threats when it is clear to him that they are false threats that will not come to fruition," they added.