Friedman visits settlement leaders in Judea and Samaria to discuss ‘Deal of the Century’

According to settlement leaders, the peace plan provides “genuine potential to greatly advance Israel’s interests while significantly improving the lives of many more throughout the Middle East.”

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met with settlement leaders in Judea and Samaria on Thursday to discuss President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”

During the meeting, Friedman received direct feedback regarding the settlement annexation aspects of the plan from the mayors of Efrat, Ariel, Elkana, Karnei Shomron, Alfei Menashe, and Oranit.

In a joint statement, the mayors said that Trump’s peace plan “safeguards Israel’s security, ensures Israel will be able to apply its sovereignty to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, and provides the region with a realistic path toward peace.”

The plan provides “genuine potential to greatly advance Israel’s interests while significantly improving the lives of many more throughout the Middle East,” they said.

Since January’s release of the “Deal of the Century,” they have been pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act swiftly and annex the settlements, despite Friedman’s constant warnings to hold off until a U.S.-Israeli panel is formed to work through the logistics.

Last week, settlement leaders led a rally of several thousand demonstrators outside of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence to protest his reluctance to apply immediate sovereignty over settlements in Judea and Samaria.

During the rally, Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani said failure to act swiftly will hurt Netanyahu in the upcoming elections.

“They love you. They believe in you. They are asking that you stand by your promise to apply sovereignty on the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the settlements in Judea and Samaria. They are the ones that can determine if you will achieve the necessary 61 mandates to form a right bloc. Listen to them,” he said at the time.

In order to appease his right-wing base before the election, Netanyahu is trying to gain support to annex some part of Judea and Samaria as a “symbolic move.”