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Leftist Tel Aviv Mayor Blames Terror Attack, Palestinian Celebrations On ‘Occupation’

TEL AVIV – The leftist mayor of Tel Aviv said on Thursday that the “occupation” and the Israeli government were responsible for the terror attack on the Sarona marketplace that claimed four lives on Wednesday evening.

In an interview with Army Radio, Mayor Ron Huldai was asked whether he still believes there is a chance for peace while Palestinians celebrate the attack by handing out candies. Huldai responded by blaming the “occupation.”

“We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights,” Huldai said.

Huldai’s claim flies in the face of the fact that there are more than 200 territorial disputes worldwide.

He continued by implying that Jews living in the disputed territories of the West Bank should leave.

“The reality has to change for the worse in order for [our] awareness to change to the point where [we understand] that we have to evacuate.”

“You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright,” he added.

Huldai urged the sides to engage in dialogue when the terrorism ceases, saying, “no one has the courage to take a step towards attempting some kind of agreement.”

“The problem is that when there is no terrorism, no one talks about [the occupation],” he said.

“Nobody has the guts to take a step towards trying to make some kind of [final status] arrangement. We are 49 years into an occupation that I was a participant in, and I recognize the reality and know that leaders need courage to just say things.”

“We have to show our neighbors that we have true intentions to return to a reality of a smaller Jewish state with a clear Jewish majority,” he added.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan lashed back at Huldai for his “bizarre” remarks, commenting that neither the absence of a peace treaty with the Palestinians nor the occupation that began in 1967 is the reason behind acts of terror.

“I want to remind him that there was terrorism here 100 years ago, and in 1929 [in the Hebron massacre] Jews were murdered and there was no State of Israel. There wasn’t even an ‘occupation.’”  Ben-Dahan said during an address to the Institute of National Security Studies.

Ben-Dahan added that “it’s time that we, at the head of the Right, say to the heads of the Left that they are the delusional ones.”

He concluded that terror continues because Palestinians believe it may advance their cause toward a Palestinian state, and the minute they realize that Israel will never concede to terror they will stop.

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