Gilad Erdan
Gilad ErdanMarc Israel Sellem

Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) spoke on Sunday at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York and called for the application of Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“The strategy of the Palestinian leadership has been to reject any offers, and even negotiations and meetings with Israeli leaders, since they believe that the international community will eventually pressure Israel into accepting all Palestinian demands,” he said, noting the new approach of the American administration which shows there’s a price for the Palestinian Arabs’ ongoing intransigence.

“All of a sudden, their rejectionism has led the US to take important steps such as recognizing Jerusalem as our capital, moving its embassy and defunding UNRWA. This is the start of a new paradigm, which means that the Palestinians must realize that time is not on their side,” said Erdan.

“To advance this paradigm, we must take the next legal, moral and logical step, which is to apply Israeli law to the Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria. These cities and towns are legal, including under international law, and there’s no reason that they should be discriminated against,” he noted.

“There is no reason that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens need to live under Ottoman or British laws, just because [Palestinian Authority chairman] Abu Mazen has chosen terror and a boycott of Israel over peace. Such a step would not preclude a future negotiated peace, if and when Israel has a real partner,” continued Erdan.

He stressed that “Israel desires peace…but you make peace with a partner. and as long as there’s no partner, we need to prioritize the welfare and interests of our citizens in every part of the Land of Israel.”

“Applying Israeli law to these communities is not only the right step, practically, morally and legally, I believe that such a step will also help advance peace. It will deliver a clear message to the next Palestinian leadership that time is not on your side! We will not sit around and wait.”

Erdan chided PA leaders for their continued support of terrorism.

“This month, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said that politically, they cannot take it that their kids in jail are terrorists. Do you hear what he's saying? He's saying that the PA leadership cannot accept that Palestinians who murder Jews are terrorists.”

“Friends, this statement, is the very heart of the Palestinians’ ongoing conflict with us. The conflict is not, and was never, about territories or the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

“It is, and has always been, about anti-Semitic hatred for the Jewish People, and the rejection of our right to a homeland anywhere in the Land of Israel.”

He also pointed out PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ recent comment saying that if the PA only had one cent, it would pay it to the families of “the martyrs and the prisoners."

“This is the number one priority for the Palestinians - encouraging and rewarding attacks against us. Rewarding terror is so important to the Palestinian leadership, that it's cutting salaries and harming thousands of Palestinian families by refusing to accept the tax monies that Israel collects on its behalf, because we deduct the amounts paid to terrorists, as any normal and moral country would do, and as the US is doing, through the Taylor Force Act,” said Erdan.

“And while the PA harms Palestinian families and undermines the Palestinian economy, it's also making every effort to undermine President Trump's economic workshop in Bahrain. This time they’re really breaking a new record in living up to their reputation of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” he continued.

“It’s truly unbelievable that the one leading the opposition to this effort, is the Palestinian Authority. This is something that everyone must be made aware of. This is something that we all must speak out about.”

Erdan also pointed out the importance of Israel and the American Jewish community, Democrats and Republicans alike, standing together in the face of threats of Palestinian Arab terror, Iranian aggression, and rising anti-Semitism worldwide.

“I deeply believe that the strength of Israel and the Jewish People requires that we listen carefully to each other, and look for solutions to areas of disagreement. We have to take into account both the complexities of Israel’s vibrant - very vibrant- democracy and the overriding importance of the Israel-Diaspora relationship,” he said.

“We especially must stand together against resurgent anti-Semitism, whether it finds expression in attacks against Jewish communities, or statements by Members of Congress,” continued Erdan.

“We cannot allow anti-Semitic actors to turn Israel into an issue which divides us. We must remember that the shooters in Pittsburgh and Poway didn’t care whether their victims were Reform or Ultra-Orthodox, Republicans or Democrats.”

“In the fight against anti-Semitism, we are one family. And the most urgent mission for us today, is to ensure that the next generation of both Israeli and American Jews understands the importance of the bonds between us. Dear friends, if we stand together, I’m certain that we’ll be able to meet these challenges, and build a strong and thriving future for Israel, the US Jewish community, and the US-Israel alliance,” he concluded.