Two days ahead of John Kerry's visit to the Middle East in an attempt to jumpstart peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, a member of Israel's ruling coalition has claimed that a peace agreement will "lead to bloodshed". Israeli media reported Naftali Bennett's comments on Tuesday as the leader of the Jewish Home Party expressed his opposition to a Palestinian state yet again.
"Do I really want my home in Raanana to be 10 minutes from a Palestine armed with missiles?" he asked during an interview with Israel Radio. "If you look at when there has been violence, it is hot on the heels of peace [agreements]." He said that a Palestinian state would lead to another outbreak of violence.
Bennett cited the breakout of the Second Intifada after the Camp David summit in 2000, and said that the Oslo process led to thousands of deaths.
The far-right Zionist said that he had no problem with talks themselves as long as there are no preconditions. "It is OK to speak. I will not oppose negotiations."
Criticising what was reported about Netanyahu's goodwill gestures to release prisoners, Bennett said: "I have participated in dozens of negotiations in my life; never have I paid a price for the simple right to negotiate."
He added that if Netanyahu wants to go to negotiations, he can go but without any concessions. "If you want to sit and talk, by all means, I am not about to pay for this sacred right to sit and talk."