Bennett: In Judea and Samaria, it’s either Israel or ISIS

Education Minister and Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett delivered a strong speech at Ariel University in Samaria Monday, excoriating both his domestic political rivals and Western states for appeasing terrorism, while warning that the presence of Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria are Israel’s first line of defense against Islamic State as it gobbles up territory to the east.

“Either you will be here, or ISIS will be,” Bennett told students. “A world war has begun between radical Islam and the free world.”

Bennett noted that the same Western countries calling on Israel to make massive territorial and other concessions in response to attacks by Muslim terrorists against Israeli citizens would never react similarly to attacks on their own soil.

“If France were to offer half of Paris to the Muslims, would that lessen terrorism or encourage it?” he asked. “If (France) would free terrorists, would that lessen or encourage (terrorism)?”

The ongoing wave of Arab terror in Israel “is not because the Palestinians lost hope or because they have hope. A Palestinian state… is a central part of their plan” to destroy Israel “in stages,” he insisted.

Only by dispelling any hope of them achieving the destruction of the Jewish state – in stages or otherwise – could Palestinian terrorism ever truly be defeated, he said.

By contrast, enacting a “two-state solution” and establishing a 23rd Arab “Palestinian state” in Judea and Samaria “is a strategic mistake we must uproot” from the public discourse, Bennett added.

Turning to his rivals, he noted that the Jewish Home party is the only party in the Knesset which firmly opposes such a plan.

“The Likud led by Prime Minister Netanyahu supports a Palestinian state. (Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor) Liberman also supports a Palestinian state. (Yesh Atid party leader) Yair Lapid supports the Saudi Initiative. That’s how they are leading the State of Israel and the world astray.”

“We will never establish in the heart of Israel a Palestinian state. Period,” he vowed of his party.

Bennett also urged people to stop trying in vain to “explain” terrorism, and instead focus on fighting and defeating the groups responsible.

“When a rapist rapes, we don’t try to ‘understand’ him. We punish him! We are fighting this phenomenon.”

Bennett also derided public and legal figures who discouraged punitive action against terrorists and their families – such as demolitions of terrorists’ homes – by claiming it was ineffective or even counterproductive.

Noting that the family of the terrorist responsible for Friday’s double murder of a father and son near Hevron gave him up to security forces precisely because they feared Israeli retaliation, Bennett mused: “The problem is that the family of the terrorist from Otniel did not hear these ‘conclusions,’ and insisted on turning over to the IDF the terrorist who killed two Jews in order that their house wouldn’t be destroyed.”