Bennett: Israel Won't Stop Abbas if He Wants to Go

Economy minister says he is not intimidated by Palestinian threat to dismantle the PA if stalemate continues.

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Naftali Bennett. Insists on a referendum for a peace accord.
Naftali Bennett. Insists on a referendum for a peace accord.Credit: Emil Salman

If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "want to go, he can go – we won't stop him," Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

Bennett was referring to a statement attributed to Abbas last week, in which he said that he would ask Israel to "take the keys" and resume responsibility for the areas in the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority operates, if the diplomatic stalemate continued.

The statement was made during a meeting Abbas held in Ramallah last Wednesday with several Israeli MKs. “You don’t have to send tanks or use force,” he was quoted as saying. “Just send a junior officer, a second lieutenant, and we’ll give him the keys.”

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) encourages terror against Israel as head of the Palestinian Authority and then threatens us with his resignation," Bennett said in response. "As the saying goes, with threats like that who needs good wishes? … Israel does not negotiate with a pistol to the temple."

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