The Blue and White party chairman says annexation of Jewish towns must be part of a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Yair Lapid, chairman of the Blue and White party, ridiculed Benjamin Netanyahu’s Sunday campaign promise to annex all the Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria, saying that it would be impossible to do so without absorbing millions of Palestinians.
“You can’t apply Jewish sovereignty just to the towns,” he said on Israel Radio’s Channel 2. “What Netanyahu’s comments mean is sovereignty over 2.9 million Palestinians and giving them National Insurance payments.”
“Sovereignty is something that happens on the ground. Other than [Transportation Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, there is absolutely no one who thinks it is a good idea,” he claimed.
Lapid repeated his party’s line that Netanyahu is ready to say anything for the right-wing bloc to win and form a government that would protect him from indictment in one or more of the legal cases pending against him.
“What scares him is the idea of going to prison, so he goes to Elkana and says something that is totally disconnected from reality,” Lapid stated.
He was referring to the prime minister’s visit to an elementary school in the town of Elkana in Samaria on Sunday, the first day of the school year, where he pledged to annex all Jewish communities in the region if he wins the upcoming election.
Lapid, who would rotate the prime-ministership with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz if the party wins the upcoming elections, alleged that “absolutely no one” believes Netanyahu’s annexation plan is a good idea except for Transportation Minister Smotrich of the new Yemina party, considered a right-wing religious extremist by Israel’s left-wing.
A number of Knesset members in the Likud as well as the Yemina party, however, have publicly stated that they are in favor of sovereignty over the region as a whole or at least over Area C, to which Netanyahu was referring.
Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Yemina) took credit for bringing up the idea of annexing Area C back in 2012.
“Eight years ago, when Prime Minister Netanyahu of the Likud raced toward ‘two states for two nations,’ when we argued whether to evacuate 93% or 97% of Judea and Samaria, I came out with my plan to apply Israeli law to Area C. ‘You’re hallucinating,’ everyone chuckled. Today that same prime minister is adopting the plan. We succeeded,” Bennett tweeted on Sunday.