Bennett: We must Speak of our Right to the Land Even before Security, Strategy and Policy

Women in Green interview Min Naftali Bennett

The head of The Jewish Home party, Minister Naftali Bennett, presents his ideological vision, “The Israel Stability Initiative,” which, according to him, has not changed since he joined the government. The things that you see – from there and from here – are the same.

Editors’ note: the interview with Minister Bennett was held before the latest blow-up of political negotiations between Israel and the PA and the reconciliation deal between Abu Mazen and Hamas.

Just before his official entry into the political system, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, issued his proposed policy entitled “The Israel Stability Initiative,” the main thrust of which is the gradual annexation of the territories of Judea and Samaria and ending the Jewish-Arab conflict. From a recent conversation with him, more than a year after his entry into the government, it is clear that Bennett has apparently found no reason to change anything in his plan. “What I saw from there, I see from here
as well,” he tells us.

“The plan is based on the understanding that we must not and can not establish a Palestinian state within the Land of Israel, but we also must not and cannot incorporate two million Palestinians within the State of Israel and we cannot have two different classes of people in any given territory,” Bennet begins, and presents the principles that led him to formulate the plan.

“The solution called ‘The Stability Initiative’ entails the application of sovereignty over Area C, which constitutes 60 percent of the territories of Judea and Samaria, an area where approximately four hundred thousand Jews live and about seventy thousand Arabs. We will offer a choice between residency and citizenship to those seventy thousand Arabs. In my estimation,” he says, “almost all will choose
residency and not citizenship, however, even if they all choose citizenship, this number of Arabs will not represent demographic ramifications.”

And what about the rest of the territory?

“Regarding this territory we will establish Palestinian autonomy, this
is an area in which two million Arabs live and not a single Jew.”

Would this Palestinian autonomy actually be freezing the current
situation as it is?

“In general, yes, but with the addition of contiguity of transit and
not sovereignty. This will allow the Palestinians freedom of movement
in Judea and Samaria. In my estimation this is the sore point. We
understand that neither the Jews nor the Arabs in Judea and Samaria
are going to disappear and since there is no magic solution we must
arrive at the situation where the fabric of life is improved for
everyone. Today, thank G-d, we travel on the same roads and I am not
suggesting that we make separate roads for the Jews and the Arabs but
rather to continue using the same infrastructure and the same roads.”

So who actually does know how to make peace?

Minister Bennet sees the shared roads as another proof of the
geo-political absurdity that we live in. “After all, it is the Jews of
Judea and Samaria who know better than anyone how to coexist and this
is the great absurdity. Why, who is it that sits in the traffic jams
together everyday with the Arabs? The Geneva Initiative crowd from Tel
Aviv? No. It is the residents of Ofrah and Eli and the rest of
Benjamin who sit in the traffic jams at Adam Junction. Who shops
together in Rami Levi supermarkets in Gush Etzion and in Sha’ar
Benjamin? And who works together in the industrial area of Barkan or
Mishor Adumim? Actually, it is the settlers who are making peace the
most, in a practical way, even if not with the greatest love, and they
can teach the left what true peace is.”

“There is no great love in the air but most of the Jews recognize the
fact that the Arabs are not going to disappear and also most of the
Arabs recognize the fact that the Jews are not going to disappear. In
this sense I believe in strengthening the dynamic, in improving the
transportation infrastructure, the economy and the industrial areas in
Judea and Samaria.”

You describe your plan as one that is good for Israel as well as the
Arabs. That’s nice, perhaps, but the Arabs will tell you that they
don’t want it. They want a state and a place at the UN.

“So they want it. We want to live, we are a country that desires life
and has no other land and ironically, because this land belongs to us
and we recognize that there are two million Arabs in Judea and
Samaria, we realize that we must give them a suitable and honorable
answer.”

“There are more than a few voices from the Palestinian territory who
say that they do not trust the Palestinian Authority and do not want a
Palestinian state because of the corruption and we represent an
alternative. It is clear to me that it is not a perfect alternative
but compared to the others it seems good to me.”

What is the overall, practical solution that you see for the future?

“Long range, it is not impossible that Jordan will gradually become a
sort of Palestine if only because seventy percent of the Jordanians
are of Palestinian origin. I would see this process as a desirable one
and, in my opinion, this is already happening. This is a long range
process, but meanwhile we must not ruin what was already achieved in
the field and we must surely, surely prevent the establishment of a
Palestinian state west of Jordan at any cost.”

Your plan to divide the territory into Areas A, B and C reinforces the
terms of Oslo.

“The plan regarding the remainder of the territory speaks about
autonomy that does not include security control. I know what the
reality is. I do not want the Israeli civil administration to return
to conduct life for the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria. I
have no interest in deciding where Arab children will go to school and
I am not interested in collecting taxes from them and controlling
their daily lives. I believe that the present situation is alright.”

The world will not recognize our declaration? It did not recognize
previous declarations either.

Bennett does not sound especially concerned even when he is asked
about the world’s expected reaction to a plan of this sort after
decades during which the vision of two states has been fixed in
international consciousness as the only logical and reasonable plan.
“The world will not recognize the Israeli declaration of sovereignty
over Area C just as it did not recognize the application of
sovereignty in the Golan Heights or in the Old City in Jerusalem. So
there will be another place that they don’t recognize sovereignty,”
Bennett says dismissively and immediately focuses on the importance of
the plan inside Israeli society.

“If we recognize Area C as sovereign territory that belongs to the
State of Israel, the Israeli public will gradually feel that it is
Israeli territory, and the public will come there more and all of the
questions will disappear, but this is a process.”

“I do not accept the approach that ‘Things you see from there, you
don’t see from here.’ I believe the opposite, things that you see from
here you also see from there. From the seat of government, things
appear exactly the same. On the contrary, from here, I see even more
how correct our approach is.”

“The present government under the leadership of Netanyahu desires the
establishment of a Palestinian state. It is no secret that we object
to this and will not lend our support. I am presenting an alternative
because I believe that at the end of the day, the present process will
not be realized, and when the present process comes to an end,
everyone will ask ‘what now?’ – and therefore, we must already prepare
the answer.”

Bennett is convinced that in order to promote the plan, it is
particularly important to prepare the infrastructure in the sphere of
international public relations. He explains the connection between
these things. “It is very clear to me that we must create an
international system against de-legitimization of Israel. Something
appalling is happening here. Even the Left does not expect peace. Even
Tzipi Livni has stopped claiming that there will be a peace agreement.
I spoke with her about this and here is a scoop for you: Even she
claims that an agreement will not bring peace. When you then ask why
do all of this she says that the objective is that we will not be
isolated in the world. That is, no one claims that the process will
bring peace or security. On the contrary, they know that this process
will bring missiles and all of the disasters that may happen, but they
are convinced that there is no choice because the world is pressuring
us. The State of Israel must establish a system that is beyond Israel
advocacy. It must be a system to fight de-legitimization.”

We must combine Israel advocacy, settlement activities and policy, but
first and foremost is the discussion of our rights to the Land.

“I am active in the field of public opinion but unfortunately the
prime minister is leading in the direction of establishing a
Palestinian state. We knew this when we entered the government. It is
clear to me that this direction will not happen because it is
hopeless. The Palestinians will not give up on the right of return or
Jerusalem and the process will not go forward. When I returned from
Sharon’s funeral in Havat HaShikmim and, immediately afterward,
missiles were launched, I was reminded of all the security experts’
great promises that the Disengagement would bring security. Not
security, not anything at all. We must establish a basis for the
alternative,” says Bennett who, perhaps in contrast to others, does
not consider his plan as the only plan to follow.

“I am not locked into it and I don’t say that my solution is the only
correct one. I hear about other suggestions for a solution and do not
discount them. We must create alternatives that will be ready for the
day that the current process is exhausted, and it is only a matter of
time.”

Along with all of this, and perhaps even before the day in which he
can present the plan as a practical alternative on the table, Minister
Bennett sees the real value, as it was in the past, to actually
building and developing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
“I very much believe in a system of Israel advocacy but it is also of
great importance to continue the development and building in Judea and
Samaria. The fact that there are, today, four hundred thousand Jews
who live in Judea and Samaria is a fact that carries great meaning. We
must develop the physical side along with the Israel advocacy
efforts.”

Just before we end the discussion Bennett feels that we have perhaps
dealt too much with current politics and policy and that perhaps we
have slightly neglected what is truly important. “There is one insight
that I have learned especially as a minister in the government. I have
had the opportunity to conduct over a hundred discussions and lectures
on policy during the past year. I speak about security and demography
but there is one thing that takes precedence over everything else in
interviews and discussions abroad. More than anything, we must speak
about our right to the Land. With all due respect to security
rationale, in the end there is no lecture or interview that I don’t
open with the fact that this Land was given to our forefather Abraham
3,700 years ago and it will be ours forever. Afterward, there is room
to speak about practical things, about missiles, etc. The greatest
mistake in the entire international campaign is that people have not
made it a practice to say these things.”

These things brought us almost immediately into what has become
Bennett’s calling card in the world, the ancient coin of two thousand
years ago that was found in Jerusalem, a coin which he takes out
during interviews and has had a tremendous international impact in the
official media. “This coin has made waves and everyone can relate to
it. Tens of millions have seen this in various broadcasts. By
presenting the coin you actually say the extremely simple thing that
the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel and afterward we
discuss how to cope with the presence of Arabs. It is not a matter of
fine English, but rather the message. It is not necessary to speak of
sensors and drones but that the Land of Israel belongs to the People
of Israel.”

SOVEREIGNTY/Political Journal
Issue no. 3/ May 2014

May 18, 2014 | 7 Comments »

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7 Comments / 7 Comments

  1. I agree. Judea and Samaria belong to Israel. Young Palestinians will leave for better opportunities. Young Palestinians will leave if given incentives to do so. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda will then cease. The remainder will live in peace.

  2. @ XLucid:
    I agree with your comment.
    But, I submit that neither “treaties of international law” NOR a 2000 year old coin will do anything to change the mind of bias antisemites, and for all intents and purposes, it would be totally irrelevant.
    There should be a two prong approach:
    1. Massive hasbara and history lessons to THE JEWS! For, they are the greatest obstacle to a safe greater Israel. Repeating the message of Hebron massacre, visceral Jew hatred BEFORE there was a state, let alone, the ‘disputed territories’…
    Having a unified Jewish camp, is the key, as mr. Ross wrote above..
    2. Response to the world (with credit given to yamit, from whom this pic is taken):
    http://2.media.collegehumor.cvcdn.com/4/f/collegehumor.e329e3146538d4d73c9d33ff33a9477a.jpg

  3. the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel and afterward we discuss how to cope with the presence of Arabs.

    I agree with this 100% in terms of priorities. The travails of the arab enemy have been made into a first priority by crazy Jews. It is they who must learn to adjust to Israel and not vice versa: first the Jews!

    As usual, everything begins inside the mind of the Jews!
    If the Jews accept this MO then the whole world cannot hold them back!

  4. Today, thank G-d, we travel on the same roads and I am not suggesting that we make separate roads for the Jews and the Arabs but rather to continue using the same infrastructure and the same roads.”

    I am not sure that Asher Palmer and his baby Yonathan (ZL) would agree to these insanities.

    I am not sure that all other mothers and fathers and babies, as well as all IDF soldiers killed on Judea and Samaria roads would share Bennett’s blind point of view.

    As to excluding the idea of expulsion of Arabs, then if Nicolas Sarkosy deported 15,000 Romani people from France in 2010, and demolished hundreds of their camps – although they were not involved in terrorism – then Israel can undoubtedly evict 70,000 Arabs from Judea and Samaria, most of them actual or potential terrorists.

    For Bennett’s own information, instead of bringing with him a coin of 2000 years in his interviews – which falls on deaf ears – it would be worthwhile to bring with him treaties of international law which granted the Land of Israel to the Jewish People in order to establish their National Home.

    And in an authentic Bayit Yehoudi, there is literally no room for Amaleck.

  5. @ the phoenix: As much we would desire the Arabs to get a bus ticket or airplane ride to elsewhere, reality says they are not leaving in large numbers any time soon and who knows if ever (short of a war and fight to the death such as the 1948 Independence War).

    So we work on plans such as Bennett’s to deal with the reality even though he admits it is not a magic pill to solve everything in the conflict. It is a method for stability and asserting Israels rights to the Jewish homes and sovereignty in Judah and Samaria plus security. No withdrawals, further building and asserting our rights.

  6. “There is no great love in the air but most of the Jews recognize thefact that the Arabs are not going to disappear

    And my question is why not?
    If for a moment you could ANSWER that question, it would become obvious that it would be based on a false phony’ humanitarian’ reason … The high road bullshit narrative etc.
    Revise the massacre of Hebron, get it through your head that the only reason that these musloid scum are ‘quiet’, is because they have no choice.
    God forbid, they were to gain the upper hand…they have shown what they are capable of doing, and did it to the poor reservists lynched in Ramallah…
    I say, MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR!
    Load them on buses and wave bye bye.