Lieberman: Bennett Was Right to Apologize to Netanyahu

'You can argue with the prime minister, but you can't give him a tongue-lashing," declares foreign minister.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was right to apologize for the things he said about Prime Minister Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday during a visit to the Golan Heights.

On Sunday, Bennett attacked Netanyahu, after the Prime Minister's Office informed foreign journalists that Netanyahu believed that it would be possible to allow settlers who wanted to remain under Palestinian sovereignty to do so in the wake of a peace agreement.

"You can disagree with the prime minister and argue with him, but you can't give him a tongue-lashing," the foreign minister said. "There was no intention to leave Israeli settlers under Palestinian sovereignty, and there won't be any such intent."
Lieberman expressed satisfaction that the incident ended as it did.

Bennett referred to Netanyahu's suggestion as "ethical befuddlement" in response.

“Two thousand years of longing for the Land of Israel did not pass so we could live under the rule of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], and whoever even considers having Jews live in the Land of Israel under Palestinian sovereignty undermines our presence in Tel Aviv,” Bennett said.

A day later, officials in Netanyahu's office said the prime minister's statement was a trial balloon intended to squeeze a refusal out of the Palestinians and to present them to the world as the ones rejecting peace. However, Bennett's reaction foiled their plans.

The PMO blamed Bennett for "reckless national endangerment that harms efforts to expose the real face of the Palestinian Authority just to grab headlines."
After exchanging verbal blows at Tuesday's conference at the Institute for National Security Studies, the PMO informed Bennett he had to make an unequivocal public apology lest he put the government coalition in danger and be dismissed.

Bennett made a qualified statement Wednesday. "There are elements trying to turn a substantive debate over the future of our security and our land into a personal attack that didn't happen," said Bennett at an education conference at the Dead Sea.