Judea Samaria council comes out against US peace plan, fearing rise of Palestinian state

The council said it would lobby against the so-called deal of the century after it is unveiled Tuesday.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The umbrella organization that represents all Jews living in Judea and Samaria came out Tuesday against the American peace proposal because it will endanger the growth of their communities and even their lives, they say.

The YESHA Council’s foremost objection to the plan, dubbed the ‘deal of the century,’ it that it gives the Palestinians some form of a state.

In the letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed by 80 heads of Jewish villages, communities and outposts rejecting the plan, the Yesha Council also objected to other, unconfirmed details of the plan that they said would be a recipe of disaster.

They wrote that even if Israel is allowed sovereignty over 30 percent of the disputed territory, most of it is in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area. This would mean only 10 percent of the rest of the land liberated in 1967’s Six Day War would be annexed, which is a far cry from the entire Area C that is under full Israeli civilian and military control even now.

Area C is necessary for the growth of their communities and to ensure their safety, they wrote.

Netanyahu brought several council members on his trip to Washington to meet President Donald Trump. He spoke to them after his meeting with the president on Monday.

“We cannot come to terms with a situation that allows the Palestinian Authority the ability to build up to the gates of our communities, turning them into a right that strangles us,” they wrote.

“He tried to sell us on the idea that it wouldn’t really be a Palestinian state,” Council head David Elhayani told the Times of Israel on Tuesday. The website reported that he said worry over the plan kept him awake at night.

Elhayani rejected Netanyahu’s view that Israel could accept such an entity because it would be demilitarized, have no control over its borders, and would allegedly be largely non-contiguous, said the report.

Agreeing with analysts in international law that demilitarization is essentially impossible to demand of a sovereign state, Elhayani asked rhetorically, “Who are we to tell a sovereign entity not to have an army or not to have an airport?”

Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman Shlomo Ne’eman said that accepting the plan as a whole – a Trump demand – is not worth the risk of a Palestinian state in Israel’s heartland, even if it allows Israel to annex some territory.

“That is something you can never walk back, whereas you can always enact sovereignty over settlements a year or two from now,” he told the website.