Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Economy and the head of the Jewish Home party, told a party meeting Monday that the claim that a two-state solution will benefit both the Palestinian Authority and Israel is a lie.
He labeled the “economic” track as another excuse to divide Israel. One of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s selling points is a $4 billion package of goodies for his dream of a Palestinian Authority state alongside an Israel that would be less than half its size since the Six-Day War in 1967.
“A Palestinian state would destroy Israel’s economy,” Bennett said in an unusually aggressive speech that reflects his certainty that Kerry’s peace talk venture is headed to the same destination as its source – the cemetery where the peace process was buried more than three years ago.
Bennett pulled out a map of the “New Israel,” as originally proposed by the Saudi Initiative of 2002 and since adopted in principle by the United Nations and the United States..
“How will Israel’s economy look if a rocket will fall in …central Herzliya? [or] a missile brings down a plane at Ben Gurion Airport?” he asked.
He said that the peace talk promoters are using the economy like they once used “peace” and “demographics” as excuses to divide Jerusalem and separate Judea and Samaria from Israel.
Bennett is sounding more and more assured recently, and his sharp political antenna sense what foreign media and Israel’s anti-Netanyahu media refuse to acknowledge – that Kerry is headed for a crash landing.
He has made the same mistake as every wannabe peacemaker before him – George Mitchell, David Hale, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and a host of others who will not be credited even in footnotes when historians look back ask what on Earth the United States was thinking when it thought it could change the Middle East into an extension of Foggy Bottom.
The funny thing it, and it really is sad, is that none of the Western do-gooders looked at the economies of Judea, Gaza and Samaria before and after 1967.
Egypt treated Arabs in Gaza as if they were on the moon, while Jordan at least acknowledged that Arabs in Judea and Samaria were on the same planet, but nothing more.
Growth was stagnant. Education was poor. Infrastructure remained undeveloped. Thanks to the Jordanian prohibition of Christians and Jews from visiting holy sites, tourism was miserable.
All of that changed in 1967. After the war, the Arabs in Judea, Gaza and Samaria were freed from the yoke of their Arab rulers. The entire region blossomed. Israelis flocked to the “occupied” territories to buy cheaper goods and produce.
Israel opened up all holy sites to all religions. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs, not yet called Palestinians, worked in Israel.
Yasser Arafat, born in Egypt, changed all of that.
Bennett should have brought out the graphs of the economy before and after Arafat to show how the Intifada destroyed the Palestinian Authority economy.
The next illogical step, as Bennett warned Monday, is to destroy the Israeli economy.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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