'As Soon as Terrorists Board the Bus, I Will Resign'
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) reiterated his opposition to releasing terrorists in order to continue peace talks on Monday, in light of news that developments after the Passover holiday will "not be good", according to him.
"Mahmoud Abbas continues to blackmail Israel, and Israel continues to be blackmailed," Danon said, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. Danon expressed satisfaction with the decision of Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) and others to adopt his position, and place the fourth batch of terrorist releases as a "red line" for remaining in the coalition government.
When asked whether the various Deputy Ministers have coordinated a political walk-out, Danon stated that the issue is not a matter of coordinating politically - but, rather, coordinating shared values [to present to the government].
"You have to stand firm," he said, over the possibility of a terrorist release. He rejected the notion of adopting other moves to allow the releases - such as enacting a construction freeze or revoking the Israeli Arab terrorists' citizenship to allow them to be released as residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"I'm ready, for [the sake of] justice, to stand alone as well," Danon added, referring to the multiple threats by MKs to resign over the issue. "But to be successful you need more MKs."
"I intend to continue to lead the fight," he continued. "This a test to Bennett and his friends and members of the Likud."
He clarified that [in the event the deal goes through], he will send in his resignation letter as soon as the terrorists board a bus [to freedom].
"The price I'm willing to pay is also my role [as an MK and Deputy Minister]" he says, noting that extending the negotiation period for peace talks, which would involve the division of Jerusalem and the uprooting of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, contradict the policies on which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were elected.
Danon called on the Prime Minister to stand by the principles he had outlined at the beginning of the process, when he said the negotiations would be held without any preconditions.
Last week, Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett threatened to resign from the government if Arab-Israeli terrorists were released in a possible agreement to trade longtime captive Jonathan Pollard for the release of hundreds of Arab terrorists.
"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,” Bennett stated Thursday. “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."
"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."
Other ministers and MKs followed suit over the past week, including several from Jewish Home. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel stated Friday that his party would not stay in the event of a terrorist release "at any cost."
Meanwhile, tensions remain high in the coalition, as several leftist MKs have declared in turn that they would resign in the event that peace talks fold.