Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett rejects releasing Palestinians terrorists as precondition to peace talks.

Israeli Industry, Labor and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett recently announced that he opposes releasing terrorists as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority in order to jump-start peace negotiations, as was reportedly proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry. A report published by the Al Hayat publication claimed that Kerry’s peace proposal calls for the release of 103 Palestinian terrorists serving long-term prison sentences within six months of the start of talks. The Palestinian Authority has not committed itself to negotiations, even if Palestinian terrorists were to be released as a goodwill gesture.

Bennett stated, “I would not free one murderer in exchange for the right to sit with Abu Mazen (the ‘nom de guerre’ of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas). I will oppose the release of terrorists who murdered Jews as a gesture in advance of PA negotiations, and I believe Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu agrees that Israel does not have to accept any preconditions.” Despite the lack of negotiations, Bennett claims that the BDS campaign to boycott Israel isn’t working. He recalled in his recent visit to China, “They didn’t mention the Palestinians once. They want our technology, our hi-tech like the rest of the world does.”

The Palestinian Authority Condones Terror

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has documented a number of instances where terrorists who were released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange have returned to terrorism, despite their written commitments saying that they would refrain from such activities. Wafa al Biss, who was arrested for planning her own suicide attack at Soroka Hospital in Be’ersheva and was released as part of the Gilat Shalit prisoner exchange deal, told a group of children in Gaza: “We will pursue our struggle and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentanyahu) knows that. Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles.”

Anti-Jewish as well as pro-terrorist utterances can be found in Palestinian textbooks, in mosque sermons, in popular music, in poems, in street names, and even in children’s programs on television. Additionally, Palestinian officials have claimed that they support dropping nuclear bombs on Israel and didn’t hesitate to praise as well as reward Palestinian terrorists. Bennett emphasized that until the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, all efforts to restart negotiations are a “waste of time.”

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United with Israel