Education Minister Naftali Bennett asserted Tuesday that a right-wing government, which enjoys the support Israel does from the Trump administration, and nevertheless does not annex West Bank settlements, has failed.
"The current American administration provided fertile ground for realizing this policy, despite its current unfamiliarity with the ideas behind it," Bennett told Ynet.
Bennett's statements came on the heels of a blanket denial issued by the White House on Monday concerning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's earlier claims that he was in talks with the administration of President Donald Trump regarding annexing the West Bank.
"I launched the sovereignty scheme for the first time seven years ago," Bennett said. "I'm pleased Prime Minister Netanyahu has joined in on the effort to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria."
"The test will naturally be in implementing statements. Either way, the sovereignty bill is on the table and will be brought to a vote in the near future. A right-wing government with such an American administration—if it completes its term with half a million second class Israelis, it will be considered a failure," stated the leader of the hawkish Bayit Yehudi party.
Likud ministers also weighed in on the controversy engendered by the premier's comments. Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze'ev Elkin, for one, said, that, "Implementing the Likud Central Committee's decision on applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank settlements is a paramount Israeli national and security interest, and should be sought even if the international community is not in lockstep on the matter, including a close ally such as the United States."
"When (former prime minister) Menachem Begin was spearheading the effort to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Golan Heights," Elkin expounded, "he was faced with stringent opposition from an American president considered very friendly to Israel—Ronald Reagan—opposition that was even accompanied by harsh punitive measures on the part of the US.
"No one remembers those punitive measures today, but the Golan Heights remained Israeli thanks to Begin's determination. This determination is needed again today to realize the vision of Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria, the cradle of the Jewish people's history."
Sports and Education Minister Miri Regev added to Ynet, "Israel is not a foreign occupier in Hebron, Shiloh or Jerusalem. That's clear to everyone today, including the American administration."
"The slightly different definitions of the prime minister's wording and the White House's statement do not alter this fact. As the White House's spokesperson said yesterday, the prime minister made it clear to the American administration that Israel had its own alternatives," Regev concluded.