Jerusalem News (26 February, 2014, 26 Adar-1, 5774)
1. Israeli Minister Bennett to BBC Host: "Would You Hand Over Half of Britain to Someone Who Keeps on Killing You?" (VIDEO)
by Joshua Levitt
2. Israel, Jordan, PA sign historic Red Sea-Dead SeaÂ canal dealÂ byÂ Nahum BarneaÂ
3. Maps of Great Interest and Often also ImportantÂ Â
1. Israeli Minister Bennett to BBC Host: 'Would You Hand Over Half of Britain to Someone Who Keeps on Killing You?' (VIDEO)
by Joshua Levitt
February 25, 2014
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday turned the tables in an interview on BBC's Hard Talk when he asked host Stephen Sackur, 'Would you hand over half of Britain to someone who keeps on killing you?'
In the combative interview, Bennett countered Sackur at every turn.
Asked about his resistance to the internationally acclaimed 'two-state solution,' Bennett said the history of Arab violence and two decades of diplomatic failures mean 'fresh thinking' is required.
'In our land, there are nearly 2 million Palestinians'. They're not going anywhere, but we're not going anywhere,' Bennett said. 'We gotta figure out how to live together, how to work it out.'
Sackur insisted, asking Bennett why he was against offering 'sovereignty.' Bennett responded that 'every time' Israel withdraws from land, 'they kill us.'
'Would you hand over half of Britain to someone who keeps on killing you?' Bennett asked the host.
'For 20 years we tried this direction, in [the international peace agreements of] 1993, in '95, 2000' and you know what they did? They killed 1,000 Israelis,' Bennett said. 'It's not working. It's time to try a different approach.'
'That something else is peace between the people. Businesses in Judea and Samaria of Israelis and Palestinians together. That's the real bridge to peace, build it bottom-up, because clearly the diplomats are failing.'
'It's got to be the homeland of the Jews. We only have one homeland, the Arabs have 22 - 300 times the size of our tiny state. I don't know how many of your viewers realize that from the ocean to the Green Line it's a 10 minute ride. That's how narrow our state is....'
Sackur then addressed the notion that refusing a two-state deal is succumbing to 'real naivety' in the belief that Palestinian-Arabs will eventually lose their will to fight.
'I've unfortunately fought in every battle in Israel since 1990. I've lost my best friends in battle, in the First Intifada, the Second [Intifada], the Second Lebanon War' A thousand people blew up in Tel Aviv and Haifa and Jerusalem when we did hand over land,' Â Bennett said.
Asked by Sackur if he has 'empathy' for the plight of Palestinian Arabs, Bennett replied: 'I have immense empathy' [but] we've got a tiny home, one home for the Jews. We don't have anywhere else to go. The Arabs have 22 states, much bigger, and that's it. That's what we've got, that's what we've had forever.'
When asked by Sackur why his position on a Palestinian homeland seemed 'out of step' with international consensus, and if he were 'ready to contemplate' diplomatic and economic sanctions against Israel, Bennett responded that 'common wisdom' has been proven to be right only about half the time.
'The fact that a lot of people think something doesn't make them right,' Bennett said. 'Everyone thinks the right thing is to hand over land to my enemy.'
However, 'the Israeli public, the younger generation, is flocking to my party because they see reality not from Washington, D.C., not from London, [but] from ground up.'
Asked about recent comments from Israeli businessmen who said Israel's economy can't afford a failure of the peace talks, Bennett said, 'I would ask those business people, 'how will Israel's economy look the first time a plane is shot down from the West Bank, which is 4 km from Ben Gurion Airport?' '
'We've got apartheid going on in Lebanon; we've got apartheid going on in Syria. In Syria, they butchered 100,000 people,' Bennett said, asking why 'sanctions haven't been threatened on those states. He later added, 'We're not blowing up mosques like others are blowing up churches.'
When Sackur pressed him on the economic implications of a boycott of Israel, Bennett, who was an internet entrepreneur before entering politics, responded with figures.
'The fourth quarter of 2013 was the best high tech quarter in Israel's recorded history; last week, we sold a company for $900 million,' he said. 'The stent in your heart is Israeli; the irrigation system is Israeli; the navigation system is Israeli.'
Meanwhile, he said economy ministers in Europe asked him, 'how do we build another start-up nation?'
Israel is 'helping out in India, in Africa, all around the world,' Bennett added. 'Google set up shop in Israel, Microsoft, Facebook has now set up shop. Israel has seen more R&D centers of multi-nationals than any other country in the world.'
Asked if Israel's relations with the U.S. are currently at their 'lowest,' Bennett said, 'America is our biggest ally' with 'deep intelligence and economic' co-operation at many levels.
He told Sackur, 'The only problem with your approach is that it has nothing to do with reality, beyond that it's perfect.'
'I see the fact [that] more American investment is coming into Israel, more American intelligence collaboration,' not less, Bennett said. 'We do have disagreements on the Palestinian issue, on the Iranian issue, [but] it's okay. Friends can disagree.'
2. Israel, Jordan, PA sign historic Red Sea-Dead SeaÂ canal dealÂ by Nahum BarneaÂ Â Â
Overcoming political obstacles, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority sign what Energy Minister Silvan Shalom called 'historic agreement' securing additional 100 million metric cubes of water supplies for residents of Israel, West Bank, Jordan
In a ceremony held in the Washington headquarters of the World Bank on Monday, Israel, Two Seas Canal will carry some 100 million metric cubes of water to the north annually, thus hopefully slowing down the process Dead Sea's desiccation. As part of the cooperation, a joint water purification plant will be formed and Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians will share the water.
3. Maps of Great Interest and Often also Important