Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, advocated on Thursday for Israel to kidnap Palestinians to be used as leverage to obtain the release of captured Israelis and the bodies of two soldiers held in the besieged Gaza Strip, Ma’an reported Israeli media as saying.
In an interview with Radio Darom, Bennett, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party, discussed the issue of releasing Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to obtain the return of Israeli citizens, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two soldiers killed during Israel’s 2014 offensive on Gaza.
“My policies are consistent over the years: complete opposition to disproportionate deals to free terrorists, and certainly in exchange for bodies,” The Times of Israel quoted Bennett as saying.
Naftali Bennett discusses Terror Situation in Israel – https://t.co/4Y1g9QW7Id
— TheJewishBuzz.com (@TheJewishBuzz) July 7, 2016
The Jerusalem Post quoted Bennett as saying: “What we (Israel) once did in such situations was we would go and kidnap from the other side, and create new leverage against the other side, rather than releasing more and more terrorists.”
The Jerusalem Post also quoted Bennett’s spokesperson as specifying that the far-right political leader was suggesting kidnapping “terrorists,” not Palestinian civilians.
Bennett is well known for his incendiary rhetoric pertaining to Palestinians.
— Kevin Bushnell (@_Salam_) October 8, 2015
Following several attacks last week which killed two Israelis, including a 13-year-old girl, and three Palestinians, Bennett advocated for a number of measures, many of which have been implemented, including increased settlement construction; stepping up Israel’s policy of demolition of Palestinian property built without permits; exerting full Israeli military control over the entirety of the occupied West Bank; military closures of suspected attackers’ hometowns; the detention of suspected attackers’ family members; and cutting off internet and cellular access to the southern West Bank district of Hebron.
Israel is still withholding the bodies of at least seven Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since October. The Palestinians’ families remain uncertain as to when, and if, they will be released for burial.