“It is better to have a united Jerusalem than a diplomatic agreement,” Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett said Monday, as he outlined his plan for the “Peace of the Right” – an alternative to the failed two-state idea. The Minister stressed ancient Jewish right to the land and the need to deal with reality rather than fantasy – also by bettering the life of Israel’s Arab minority.
“What is Peace of the Right?” Bennett asked the crowd at Haaretz’s annual conference and answered: “It is peace from a place of power. Peace is not the equivalent of a diplomatic agreement; it is the absence of war.” Achieving this peace, the Minister explained, required Israel deal with three circles: domestically, with the moderate Arab regimes and with the Palestinians.
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Within Israel, Bennett said, “We and the Israeli Arabs live side by side, and the trend is positive. In the Peace of the Right, we respect the Israeli Arabs and look for actions – not only words – to integrate them into Israeli society. This is why, as Minister of Economy, I established over ten employment centers for Arab women who were at 20% employment. They’ve now crossed the 30% – compared to the Jewish women’s 80%, we still have a long way to go. This is why Ayelet Shaked established for the first time since the State’s inception a courthouse in the Arab city of Taybe, and a Shariya court in Sakhnin and appointed the first ever female Kadi. This is why, as Minister of Education, for the first time since the State’s inception Arab children are learning Hebrew from kindergarten and not from third grade, the way it was until two years ago.”
Regarding the Arab regimes, Naftali Bennett said Israel needed to work “from a position of strength,” not by compromising and weakening Israel… not through ceding territory.” Thanks to Israel’s strength, he said, ” the moderate Sunni Arab states approach us. They don’t say ‘hand over the Golan, hand over the Negev’ – they say ‘we need your intelligence, we need your economy, we need your stance and power to face our common enemy: Iran’.”
Finally, the Minister laid out his vision for the Palestinians, saying “they’re not going anywhere, and we’re not going anywhere,” and stressed his objection to the formation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. “There won’t be another Palestinian state. Israel won’t allow that mistake to happen.” Instead, Bennett proposed Area C be put under full Israeli sovereignty, “the guiding principle being a maximum territory with minimum Palestinians. This will become an integral part of Israel. Tens of thousands of Palestinians will be offered full citizenship. On one territory – one status.” The rest of the land, Areas A, and B, “will be an autonomy, which is less than a state. It has most of the signs of a state, but not a full-fledged state – until further notice.”
Naftali Bennett concluded his speech by quoting David Ben-Gurion who said: “It’s not under the authority of any Jew, or any Jewish organization, not even the authority of the entire Jewish People living with us today, to give up any part of the Land of Israel.