Amid the ongoing crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett over the idea of leaving Jews under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule, President Shimon Peres decided to add his opinion to the debate.
Bennett wrote on his Facebook page Monday "why can’t we let the Palestinians be sovereign over Israelis? Because they’ll kill them." He added a picture from the notorious lynch in 2000 of two Israeli police officers at the hands of a Palestinian Arab mob in Ramallah.
In response, Peres opined Wednesday morning at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) that Jews would be "safe" living under PA rule.
"What's this fear that's struck us suddenly? They'll kill Jews? Today?" commented the doubtful Peres. "The fear should have been in 1948 when we didn't have a cannon, tank or plane against seven armies."
Despite Peres's appraisal that having a cannon means no Jews will be killed, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) figures note that terrorist attacks skyrocketed in 2013, jumping to 1,271 from 578 the year prior. Of those attacks, 1,042 took place in Judea and 229 took place in Samaria, the areas Peres claims can be abandoned safely.
Ironically, the same day that Peres opined "today they won't kill Jews," an Arab terrorist opened fire on an IDF guard post next to the Samaria community of Ateret, which lies near Ramallah. Soldiers returned fire, eliminating the terrorist.
Peres steadfastly supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the country, even as the PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"If we want to be a Jewish people we need a Jewish state, and all other reasoning has to bend to that need," said Peres Tuesday.
In the past Peres has said the PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary."
The president has also warned of "tragic consequences" if Israel does not submit to peace proposals that would require massive territorial withdrawals and a divided internationally-managed Jerusalem.
The president has a history of downplaying the lethal dangers posed by Israel's terrorist threats.
In 2006, in the midst of massive Kassam rocket attacks on Sderot from Gaza, Peres claimed "[We] have to stop being hysterical about the Kassams. ...What's the big deal? ...We have to tell the Palestinians that Kassams, Shmassams, we're staying."