Naftali Bennett threatens to quit Israeli government over prison release

Naftali Bennett (Photo: The Israel Project)

Naftali Bennett (Photo: The Israel Project)

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett has threatened to quit Israel’s governing coalition if a group of Palestinian prisoners are released in a last ditch attempt to save the peace process.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, in a closed meeting with his party members, Mr Bennett repeated previous assurances that he would leave the government in the event of a deal over the Palestinian prisoners – particularly those who are also Israeli citizens.

“If any proposal freeing Israeli murderers is put before the government, Jewish Home will object, and if it will pass – I will leave the government which frees murderers with Israeli citizenship. Enough is enough.”

As the Jewish Home party holds a pivotal position in the Knesset with 12 seats, such a move would be enough to bring down Benjamin Netanyahu's government and force an election.

Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked said that she would regard the freeing of their prisoners as nothing less than an infringement of Israeli sovereignty.

“Freeing Israeli murders is an affront on Israeli soverginty. We need to put an end to Palestinian blackmail,” the MK wrote on Facebook.

The last batch of Palestinian prisoners were set to be released last month, however Israel decided against the move, causing the peace talks to break down.

The United States insisted progress was still being made but refused to comment on whether a new deal over prisoners had been agreed to get negotiations back on track.

Last updated: 6:39pm, April 11 2014