Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday, slamming Netanyahu over what called a “missed opportunity” to change the direction of US-Israel relations.

Earlier on Sunday it was reported that the Prime Minister had presented the cabinet with a package of good-will gestures for the Palestinian Authority.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu also presented the Security Cabinet with plans to construct a new town in Samaria – the first officially sanctioned town to be built by Israel in Judea and Samaria in more than 20 years – along with restrictions to limit expansion out of town limits by Jewish communities in the area.

In a post on his Twitter account, Bennett wrote that the plans presented by Netanyahu were “reasonable and balanced – assuming they are implemented as described.”

“There is no quantitative restriction,” continued Bennett. “[But] from my experience we’ll need to ensure that [the plan] is implemented.”

But in a follow-up post Bennett lamented another aspect of Netanyahu's talks with Trump, what he termed a “missed strategic opportunity,” arguing that the Prime Minister failed to present the new White House with alternatives to the two-state solution.

“This was a missed strategic opportunity. Instead of laying out alternatives (like a plan for [Israeli] sovereignty in [Area C of Judea and Samaria], autonomy, etc.) we were passive, so we went back to the same old [idea] of two-states, which will lead us nowhere but despair. But I can’t complain, since that’s Netanyahu’s declared position (two-states).”

“We, the Jewish Home, with eight mandates, have managed to stop the release of Israeli-[Arab] terrorists, to pass the Regulation Law, [find a solution for residents of] Amona, etc. But for a paradigm shift away from the retreat [declared in the Prime Minister’s speech at Bar Ilan in 2009] to sovereignty, we need 25 mandates.”

Bennett emphasized that he did not blame President Trump for the unchanged paradigm.

“The story isn’t about President Trump; it’s about the position of the Israeli government. Because we did not lay out a firm Israeli initiative on the table, the vacuum was filled by the two-state solution.”

“Like I said, that’s a historic opportunity that’s been missed. In life you have to take advantage of opportunities.”

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