Min. Uzi Landau
Min. Uzi LandauIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Water and Energy Minister Uzi Landau – who has a rich defense background, having served in the past as Public Security Minister – said that Israel should respect the wishes of terrorists who preferred to starve themselves, and not try to figure out ways to convince them to eat. “This hunger strike and the riots in their wake is just another provocation by the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “We must not panic.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Monday, Landau said that the PA was going out of its way to cause riots, as a “greeting,” and a message, to U.S. President Barack H. Obama, due here for a visit in several weeks. “The riots in 'protest' over the prisoner who died in Megiddo Prison are just a pretext,” he said. “They would have found another reason to riot had he not died.” Landau said that the PA has never honored the agreements it signed with Israel, and has constantly promoted terror by honoring terrorists, naming streets and squares after them, providing them with pensions, etc.

Landau said that Israel must meet the current challenge “without blinking. We must tell our friends in the U.S. and Europe that despite all our efforts, the PA still refuses to meet us for talks, and that pressure on us just encourages them to continue in their refusal.” In any event, he said, Israel must continue to respond with force when Arab rioters use force. “If we back down they will never stop their rioting,” he said.

Regarding the hunger strikers, Landau said that if they felt like not eating, Israel should leave them be. “Let them refuse to eat in good health,” he said. “We cannot release terrorists because they are on a hunger strike. We cannot make a mockery of ourselves.”