Bennett: How dare anyone call the land of Israel occupied?

Education Minister clarifies on CNN: Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, and they aren't going anywhere.

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Elad Benari, Canada,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

The Obama administration abandoned Israel, “the only free democracy in the Middle East,” Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett tells CNN.

Speaking with Jake Tapper after Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech earlier this week, in which he criticized Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as presenting an obstacle to peace, Bennett pointed out that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave the area to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The result was a “terror state” in Gaza, as Hamas took over the region and has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli territory.

“There is already a Palestinian state formed in 2005 in Gaza and they turned it into a terror state. Anyone in their right mind cannot imagine forming another one right here in Jerusalem, our eternal capital. That would be insane,” he stated.

“Judea and Samaria has been a Jewish state for roughly 3,000 years, well before the first Americans reached the new continent of America, and we’re going to stay here forever,” declared Bennett.

“We want peace,” he stressed, “but the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is by being strong and fighting the bad and evil forces of Iran and ISIS. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Bennett also stressed that Judea and Samaria are not “settlements.”

“We’re not occupying any land. One cannot occupy his own home. These are not settlements. We’ve got about 650,000 Israelis living in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Big cities. We’ve been here for thousands of years. We’re staying here. We’re going to live side by side in peace with the Arabs here, but not by forcing our hand,” he said.

Americans have been living in America for about 200 years, while Jews have lived in the land of Israel for 4,000 years, Bennett pointed out, “So how dare anyone call the land of Israel ‘occupied territory’? This has been our home forever and will be our home forever.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)