Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett Israel news photo: Flash 90

Bayit Yehudi Chairman, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, explained Sunday that the bill his party introduced against releasing terrorist prisoners is not aimed at stopping the release of 104 terrorists in the "gesture" the government has decided to make to the Palestinian Authority.

"Two months ago, the government of Israel decided to release 104 'hard' terrorists in several batches in the course of negotiations with the Palestinians," Bennett explained on Facebook. "All of the Bayit Yehudi ministers voted against it, but the decision was supported by a majority."

"Two more batches are ahead, after this week's. As a minister in Israel's government, I bear responsibility for this. Once the decision was made, it binds everyone, including those who opposed it.

"Today, a bill came up that would prevent the Israeli government from doing this again in the future. It is not connected at all with the current release and the current negotiations with the Palestinians.

"The goal is to set a red line, once and for all. The state of Israel has been demeaning itself for 20 years with terrorist deals, and it is time to put an end to it.

"This is common sense. The ministers of Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu supported the bill for preventing future releases of terrorists. Regrettably, the Likud ministers (Livnat, Saar and others) opposed the bill. This is their right. That is why it failed to pass.

"The release of terrorists is immoral. It weakens Israel, endangers the citizens of Israel and we will continue to fight it in any democratic way possible."

Minister of Interior Gideon Saar lashed out at Bennett earlier Sunday, as a special ministerial committee headed by the prime minister convened to finalize the list of 26 terrorists that Israel will release from prison on Tuesday, in the second of four installments that are to free 104 terrorists altogether.

The terrorist prisoner releases are a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority that Israel agreed to make under US pressure, in order to coax the PA to negotiate with Israel over "peace."

Saar told Bennett that if the Bayit Yehudi members find it difficult to abide by government decisions, they should resign.

Bennett's explanation means either that Saar misunderstood the meaning of Bayit Yehudi's bill, or that one of the two ministers has been trying to mislead the public regarding the bill.