AJC: Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett's Unwelcome Comments
NEW YORK, June 17, 2013
NEW YORK, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC criticized Naftali Bennett, Israel's Minister of the Economy, for his call today, in a Jerusalem speech, for an end to the vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The attempt to establish a Palestinian state in our land has ended," said Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party. "The most important thing in the Land of Israel is to build, build, build," he said. "It's important that there will be an Israeli presence everywhere. Our principal problem is still Israel's leaders' unwillingness to say in a simple manner that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel."
Bennett's remarks come as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to secure agreement by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume peace negotiations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly supported the resumption of talks with PA President Abbas, who walked away from the negotiating table more than four years ago and has been missing-in-action ever since.
"Minister Naftali's remarks, rejecting outright the vision of two states for two peoples, are stunningly shortsighted," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Since he is a member of the current Israeli coalition government, it is important that his view be repudiated by the country's top leaders."
"Bennett contravenes the outlook of Prime Minister Netanyahu and contradicts the vision presented earlier this month to the AJC Global Forum by Minister Tzipi Livni, chief Israeli negotiator with the Palestinians," Harris continued. "Livni stated clearly that a negotiated two-state settlement is the only way to assure that the State of Israel will remain both Jewish and democratic. That is a view we at AJC have long supported."
"We are under no illusion about the difficulties of achieving a two-state accord," Harris concluded. "But Bennett's alternative scenario offers only the prospect of a dead-end strategy of endless conflict and growing isolation for Israel."