Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal has made some surprising statements supporting the concept of giving up land to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Channel 10 reported Wednesday.
In comments made at an Open University conference held at Tel Aviv University last Friday, Magal said he is prepared to give up "land for peace," echoing the classic trope heard from the Israeli Left for decades.
"If it will be possible to make peace I'm ready - here I'm saying it - to give up on land in exchange for peace," said Magal. "While I believe that it's our land, that it was given to us by a divine decree, I am ready to go for territorial concessions."
Magal also indicated that he opposes Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria without a permit on land that the state defines as privately owned by Arabs.
"I'm against squatting on private land. I think that it isn't okay and isn't moral, and those who do it must be expelled," he said.
Despite Magal's comments, in many cases claims of private ownership by local Arabs have been exposed as baseless, despite cases often dragging on for years. Activists have also pointed to a legal technicality which enables courts to automatically define all non-state-owned land as "private Arab land," even if no evidence of Arab ownership exists.
The Jewish Home MK also said it was "a bummer" to be an "occupier."
"It's a bummer to be an occupier, right? And I'm not talking about the whole: 'a nation can't occupy its own land.' I don't care about the terminology," he said, brushing off a statement made by his party chairperson Naftali Bennett.
"It's a bummer, I served (in the IDF) there, I saw and did things that were very difficult for me to do," he added.
In response to Channel 10's publication of his statements, Magal claimed they were taken out of context and said "I prefer to be an occupier than to be occupied." He said he supports Bennett's plan to annex Area C in Judea and Samaria and to give the PA full autonomy of the mass of dots that make up Areas A and B.
While Bennett has stated that his party will not give up any land in Judea and Samaria - aside from creating a full autonomy in Areas A and B - Magal's statements bring up lingering questions over Jewish Home's official party stance.
Those questions were strengthened in late 2014, when current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of Jewish Home appeared on Channel 2's "Kitzis Show" hosted by Eyal Kitzis.
On the TV show, she spoke about Bennett's plan to create a full Arab autonomy in Areas A and B and remove security checkpoints from the vast array of blocs that would have a "border" hundreds or thousands of miles long, and conceded that the plan would create a "Palestinian state" that she thought would later become a "confederation with Jordan."