Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday announced his new plan to ensure Israel's security. Key to the plan, he said, was gaining world recognition of Israel's annexing of the Golan Heights.
Israel annexed the Golan in 1981, making it officially part of “Israel proper” from a legal point of view. However, that annexation has yet to be recognized by any country outside Israel. As far as the US, Europe, and the UN are concerned, the Golan is an “occupied Syrian territory.”
At this point in time, according to Bennett, there should be – can be – no debate or question on who the Golan should belong to. “We have a dispute over Judea and Samaria,” he said. “The world is still trying to push a 'magical' peace plan there that we know will not work. But in the Golan? To whom should we hand it over? To Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabat al-Nusra? To Al Qaeda itself? To ISIS?
“The time has come to end the hypocrisy,” Bennett said in a speech at the Herzliya Conference Sunday. “Enough with the double standards for Israel and the rest of the world.”
Israel's presence on the Golan is an essential element of the fight against radical Islam, said Bennett. “I call on the world to stand with us on this. In this scenario, it's either Israel or ISIS. The only violations of human rights are on the eastern side of the border. I call on the world to raise your voices, to show that you are not hypocrites,” Bennett added. “Let all of us in Israel, including opposition leaders Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, unite around this issue.”
In a wide-ranging interview last week with the Washington Post, Bennett said that Israel could not surrender land in Judea and Samaria, and would have to remain in charge of security, even if the Palestinians form a government for civil rule. “I don’t believe in giving up our land,” Bennett said. “I think it’s a profound mistake. The past several decades have taught us that every time we gave up a piece of land, immediately it turns into a launchpad for radical Islam.
“We gave up land and got the Second Intifada, with over 1,000 Israelis blown up in our cities,” continued Bennett. “We gave up Gaza, handed it over to the Palestinians, and now we have an unsolvable problem. When something doesn’t work, you change course. A growing portion of Israelis have come to adopt my point of view, which is why [Prime Minister Netanyahu] effectively adopted my view during the recent elections.”