Economy Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett declared on Thursday that he will continue to promote his plan to have Israel annex Judea and Samaria.
Speaking at the launching of a new Jewish Home-affiliated student organization at the Bar Ilan University, Bennett said he would promote the plan so that Gush Etzion will be annexed first - with the rest of Area C of Judea and Samaria to follow.
"Seeing as the Palestinians went with a unilateral move, I believe, and I put it forward in two meetings with the Prime Minister, that the plan will be applied in stages: First Gush Etzion. It’s about time. We have to apply Israeli law to Gush Etzion and then to Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim and the Jordan Valley, and then the all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” said Bennett.
Gush Etzion, he pointed out, “was in Israeli hands before the establishment of the State of Israel. Beyond that, everyone across the political spectrum, including Jimmy Carter, who visited Gush Etzion said that there was no doubt there will be Israeli sovereignty in Gush Etzion. So I am choosing to start with something that is truly consensual. We will push and, G-d willing, we will be in Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley and Ofra and Beit El, and we will declare: This is the sovereign State of Israel.”
“We are in the post-Oslo era,” declared Bennett. “The age of unilateral withdrawals, where we run away from an area and pray that all will be well and then 10,000 rockets are launched at us, is over.”
"The left is out of options, it no longer has an operative plan, it only talks about two states,” he continued. “So we put things on the table and slowly the trend is becoming a positive one: the Knesset Speaker spoke in favor of the move, as did Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, and others.”
Asked about the objections of the international community to such a move, Bennett responded, “I agree: the world won’t clap its hands. To this day they do not accept the Western Wall and the Golan Heights as part of Israel. But we do accept Jerusalem and the Golan as part of Israel.”
"I do not undermine the importance of our ties with the world. I am constantly dealing with the world but believe it or not, foreign ministers and ambassadors only care about their own trials and tribulations, and what is troubling the world right now is the recession and lack of innovation, so people from China and India and Western Europe come here and only want to cooperate with us," Bennett said.
Bennett has long advocated for sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria, which contains all the Jewish communities, most notably in a viral video released shortly before his election to government.
He recently drafted a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, demanding that Israel establish full sovereignty over "settlement blocs" in Judea and Samaria.
The demand came after the Palestinian Authority (PA) violated the Oslo Accords by taking unilateral action and applying for membership in fifteen different international organizations.
The State Department has dismissed Bennett’s plan, claiming it “does not reflect” the position of the Israeli government.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has also blasted the idea, saying it would mean “the end of Zionism” and declaring that as long as she is a Cabinet minister, Bennett’s “nonsense”, as she put it, will not be implemented.