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Netanyahu threatens to fire Bennett during row over West Bank policy

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]
Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to fire Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday after he objected to the Cabinet’s agenda, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday.

An informed source said a heated dispute erupted when Bennett demanded the meeting begin by addressing the ongoing contact between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority security apparatus to reduce the Israeli military forces in Areas A of the West Bank.

According to the paper, Netanyahu replied that there is an order to the discussions, and that the matter would be discussed at the end of the meeting.

Bennett said he had received a firm commitment from Netanyahu on Sunday that the issue would be raised at the meeting, and that he was shocked when the agenda was read out and the issue was not there.

The paper said Bennett raised his voice, and Netanyahu reacted angrily, stressing that he was the one running the meeting. “I recommend that you stop, or calm down and begin to act like a minister, or I will fire you,” he reportedly said.

Bennett responded: “Do what you want. I will continue to make my views on security issues heard.”

According to the paper, Netanyahu eventually backed down, discussing the issue at length.

The prime minister’s office issued a statement following the meeting saying: “The prime minister, defence minister and chief of staff made clear that the IDF reserves, and will reserve, the right to enter Area A and anywhere needed according to operational needs, and that there is no other agreement with the Palestinians.”

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