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Israeli minister says 'no need' to withdraw from West Bank

April 9, 2014 at 10:03 am

Israel’s Labour and Industry Minister has said that there is no need to withdraw from the West Bank as the Arab world “is collapsing”. Naftali Bennett made his comments as he reiterated his rejection of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations held in Jerusalem, Bennett said that Arab countries surrounding Israel are in a state of collapse and there is no need for withdrawal or to experiment with what would happen if a Palestinian state was 10 minutes away from the Holy City. Referring to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria”, he claimed that a withdrawal would lead to similar results as those following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

“Moreover,” Bennett said, “Israel is not occupying Judea and Samaria because you can’t ‘occupy’ your own land.” Everyone will find in the Torah that Bethel and Hebron have been Jewish for thousands of years, he added. “The Palestinians living in Judaea and Samaria aren’t going anywhere, and the Jews aren’t going anywhere.”

Regarding US-Israel relations, the head of the Jewish Home Party noted, “America’s our friend, our biggest friend, but we can agree not to agree.”

Threats to impose a boycott on Israel constitute the “new form of anti-Semitism” the minister claimed. “It is permissible to criticise Israel, but imposing a boycott is a form of anti-Semitism.”

In conclusion, Bennett pointed out that although Israel is not perfect, it is a lighthouse at the heart of the storm engulfing the region.