‘Adopting the Palestinian narrative’: MKs fume over Bennett’s wording in talks with Blinken

In 2018, Bennett slammed Yair Lapid for using the same term, saying it was invented by non-Zionists. 

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is facing harsh criticism after calling Judea and Samaria the “West Bank,” and his political opponents are calling for the toppling of his government.

Speaking at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, Bennett, who ran on a right-wing ticket, said his government was “working hard to improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.”

“Such an expression is another deterioration of the government’s values,” said Yigal Dilmoni, director-general of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization for councils and organizations from Judea and Samaria — which Bennett once headed.

“It is added to the freeze of construction [in Judea and Samaria] and the turning of its back on the Israeli communities. Such a government must go home,” Dilmoni demanded.

Member of Knesset Ofir Sofer (Religious Zionism) stated: “How unsurprising that such a statement comes from someone who has joined terrorist supporters and anti-Zionist parties,” referring to the Islamist Ra’am and left-wing Meretz parties. “The former CEO of the Yesha Council erases his ideology.”

“A very dangerous statement for the future of Judea and Samaria,” he warned.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) said that “it is unbelievable that former Yesha Council director and current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is adopting the Palestinian narrative that believes in ‘occupation.’ This is another step on the way to a left-wing government after promising ten degrees to the right.”

The head of the Beit El Council, Shai Alon, said that “the prime minister’s statement about Judea and Samaria proves how dangerous the situation is for the Israeli settlement.”

“Bennett has already disengaged from Judea and Samaria, he should be prevented from carrying out the disengagement on the ground. The construction freeze is just the tip of the iceberg. Bennett is dangerous for Israel. The government headed by him must be overthrown,” he declared.

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said that “Bennett’s definition of Hebron, the city of the Patriarchs, and of ancient Shiloh, of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, of Rachel’s Tomb and ancient Susya as the West Bank shows the depth of the rift, his loss of the way and the loss of control.”

MK Avi Maoz (Religious Zionism) warned that “it has once again been proven that [Bennett] speaks consistently and highly of Judaism and Zionism, but in practice he acts in exactly the opposite way and promotes his personal interests the disengagement of the State of Israel from all Jewish and Zionist values.”

In 2018, Bennett slammed Yair Lapid for using the term “West Bank,” saying it was invented by non-Zionists.