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Israel’s education minister on Al Jazeera cites the Bible as the Jewish claim to the Occupied Territories

Claims it’s a “flat lie” that any Palestinians have been evicted from their homes in the West Bank

Cites the Bible as the Jewish claim to the Occupied Territories: “You need to change the narrative of the Bible because it’s all there”

Says “every time you give Muslim-Arabs a chunk of Israel’s land, they turn it into a terror base”

(Washington, DC – 23rd, February) - In an interview with Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show UpFront, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett claims no Palestinian has ever been evicted from their home, except those in “illegal buildings”. 

 “That is a flat lie,” Bennett told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan when asked how he would feel if he had been born a Palestinian in the West Bank and had his home taken away by Israel. 

 “Give me the name of one Palestinian who was living in a home and had his home taken away from him,” he said, before adding: “In Israel, if you build illegally you take your home away.”

On the issue of the occupied West Bank, Bennett was asked if he agreed with the 2005 Israeli Supreme Court, which described it as being “under belligerent occupation”. The education minister and Jewish Home party leader cited the Bible in response.

“You need to change the narrative of the Bible because it’s all there,” he said.

“I suggest you go change the Bible first, come back and then show me a new Bible that says that the land of Israel doesn’t belong to Jews,” he continued.

When asked if he believed Israel was a “theocracy”, by suggesting the Bible should trump a Supreme Court’s ruling, Bennett responded by dismissing the court’s verdict as “a political decision”.

“There never was a Palestinian state, so you can’t occupy something that never was a state,” he said.

During the interview, Bennett also defended his refusal to support land-for-peace negotiations.

“It turns out that every time you give Muslim-Arabs a chunk of Israel’s land, they turn it into a terror base,” he said.

“We’re not going to let that happen,” he added.

Bennett went on to explain that Israel is doing a great job ‘hosting’ its Palestinian population.

“We host within our country millions of Arabs…that enjoy full citizenship. But it is a Jewish and democratic country,” he said.

Bennett also referred to Palestinian refugees who insist on their legal right to return to their homes as whiners.

“In the 1948 war, 650,000 Jews were kicked out of the Arab countries. But we don’t go on whining for 68 years,” he said.  

Note to Editors

·         This UpFront interview with Naftali Bennett airs Friday, February 24 at 19:30GMT.

·         The full show will be available through this link: www.aljazeera.com/upfront from 19:30GMT onwards.

·         If using quotes, please credit Al Jazeera English and UpFront and add this link to online copy:www.aljazeera.com/upfront

·         UpFront broadcasts on Fridays at 19:30GMT. Follow UpFront on Twitter: @AJUpFront