Minister Says Livni Should Leave the Government
American efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) have sparked the ire of several MKs - but not Minister of Pensioner Affairs Uri Orbach (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi).
"I have no problem with reviving the negotiations," Orbach stated, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. "We didn't object to continuing them for another year." While terrorist releases remain a concern, he dismissed the idea that Israel would agree to another batch of terrorist releases in anything but theoretical terms - and added that his party would still vote against it.
Orbach also stated that the PA applying to international conventions is a serious matter. "You cannot say that the threat of the PA going to the UN does not have the possibility of paralyzing us. So, now let the PA win by releasing terrorists?"
"I do not underestimate the threat of them going to the UN," he qualified. "The fact is that Israel treats the subject seriously."
Orbach added that the PA has its owns concerns to battle once it has made such a move.
"It is important to remember that the UN is a two-sided organization," the Minister noted. "There are bodies there who are unsure that [the PA] is for the good of the world."
The Minister also said that Israel has several options for responding to the PA bid.
"The State of Israel is organized, and is going about the usual procedures in terms of a response," he said, "but we have other measures we can take - sanctions etc. - that can hamper the lives of people within the PA and especially its leaders."
Unlike Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett, who demanded to annex Area C of Judea and Samaria and make Areas A and B a full PA autonomy in response earlier this week, Orbach is in no hurry to "bring out the big guns" with threats to the PA. However, "in our arsenal are certain measures - we need to know what to say, and when."
'Livni Should Leave the Government'
Orbach also doled out sharp criticism to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (HaTnua) on Friday, calling for her to leave the government. Specifically, the Minister focused on caustic remarks Livni made about peace talks to Channel 2 earlier this week - and noted the remarks could cause real political damage.
"Leave [the government] already," Orbach said about Livni. "Leave. She had nine months [to complete negotiations] and maybe she'll have a few more months under optimal conditions for negotiations."
"The only problem to having 'optimal conditions' for peace talks are the Palestinians themselves," he continued. "We are the ones who hindered negotiations? It was the Palestinians who thwarted negotiations. They do not want a final agreement, they only want to release terrorists, and they blew it all up."
Orbach had more criticism for the leftist MKs who have joined in blaming Israel for the end of peace talks.
"They blame the whole world for talks failing, except for Livni's failure to advance the negotiations," he said. "They don't have the ability, it seems, to bring peace in our time."
"HaTnua is fictitious," he continued. "Two MKs came from Labor, one from Likud, one from the Religious-Zionist parties. There really isn't any 'glue' to hold them together, but I don't keep track of them. If they want to leave, they should leave. Maybe United Torah Judaism will replace them - they're about the same size."
"We are not opposed to having the hareidi parties in the government as a rule," Orbach said. "Yesh Atid is, but we have to consider this [switch] as an option."
Yitzhar Extremists 'Criminals'
Orbach concluded the interview by making a few comments about the drama unfolding in Yitzhar this week, which saw clashes between security forces and violent elements of the Samaria community.
"You have to put all of them in jail," the MK said. "I'm sick of the fact that we have all kinds of young criminals, who take courses on how to cope with the ISA (Shin Bet), running the way the country goes."
"We have one country and one ISA," he continued. "For those who have forgotten, we are on Israel's side."
"You have to chase after them [extremists], but also put them in their place," he added. "This is how you behave toward the IDF? It's an embarrassment."