'Better that Jerusalem remain united than to have a peace deal'

Jeers as Education Minister talks about his vision of peace during Haaretz-hosted Israel Conference for Peace.

Shlomo Pyotrovsky,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) began his speech at Haaretz's Israel Conference for Peace with a story of how former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion decided to concentrate the efforts at the beginning of the War of Independence mostly on Jerusalem, despite the military officers' opposition to the plan.

"Jerusalem is above logic," Bennett said. "We would rather have a united Jerusalem than a diplomatic agreement."

His statement was met with boos from the crowd.

"Some of this crowd may not agree with what I said," Bennett continued, "but 85% of the Israeli public does agree."

"Give me the same chance to be heard as you would have given arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

"In 2013, when we arrived in Israeli politics, we created a government with an iron backbone. We stopped the freezes, we put the brakes on freeing terrorists, we put freed 'Shalit deal' terrorists back in jail.

"We will continue to work with the same iron backbone. If you look at the last ten years in perspective, you'll realize 2013 was the year when things started to change.

"How will we bring peace? I call it 'peace between rightists.' Peace is not a diplomatic agreement. Peace is not a lack of war.

"Leftists do not have a monopoly on peace.

"I want peace no less than you do.

"Rightists do not have a monopoly on patriotism. We've already given away 80% of the land we were granted in the Balfour Declarations and the 1922 San Remo Conference. They've taken away 80%.

"This is a huge compromise - and it's already been done.

"A second Palestinian state, other than the one in Gaza, will not be created. We will not have another Palestinian state. Israel will not allow itself to make the same mistake again.

"We have a vested interest in keeping Gaza quiet. We need to learn the right lessons from 2014's Operation Protective Edge. We need to be smart and strong, and do all we can to prevent another Gaza war. And if we must fight another war, we must be sure to win it.

"Judea and Samaria need to be divided into two areas. Area C needs to have a maximum of land and a minimum of [Palestinian Arab] residents. We will extend Israeli citizenship to a few thousand Arabs who live in the area.

"The other areas of Judea and Samaria will be autonomous. They can have their own anthem, their own flag, their own Foreign Ministry. But they can't have two things: They cannot have control of security, and they cannot have the ability to bring refugees into the area. If they bring in 'refugees', we will have a demographic crisis: Palestine will overrun us with 'refugees'.

"Ben-Gurion said no Jew, not even an entire generation, has the right to give up even a tiny part of Israel - and that if we do give up a part of Israel, our decision to do so was invalid."








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