Netanyahu annexation plan gaining support of key settlement leaders

Leaders of major local councils in Judea and Samaria met Netanyahu to give their support for annexation under the Trump peace plan even though the details are not final.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Leaders of most of the major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria said Monday they gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu their support in pushing for Israel to annex their communities.

The mayors met Sunday evening with Netanyahu to show their support for his promise to apply Israeli sovereignty to settlements in Judea and Samaria as part of the Trump peace plan.

“We came strong and we emerged stronger,” Elkana Council Chairman Asaf Mintzer told Yediot Aharonot. “We were told that at this stage we are talking about sovereignty and later in the next steps negotiations will be opened regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state under far-reaching conditions for the Palestinians.”

The 12 mayors who support Netanyahu on annexation represent the largest towns with a collective population of about 250,000, including Ariel, Efrat and Modiin Illit. They stand for the plan in contrast to Yesha Council chairman David Elyahani, who has come out strongly against the Trump plan with its provision for an independent Palestinian state.

“The prime minister is a friend of the settlements,” said Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi. “We have enough enemies surrounding us that we should not have to make controversy in our midst during this. We all have to stand to the right of the Prime Minister.”

Few details of the annexation plan have been revealed, and speculation is rife as to settlements that will be left out on their own and how they will continue to be secure. The main message the leaders heard from Netanyahu was that “the deal details are not yet closed.”

“We were told that there was a lot of disinformation and that the maps had not yet been formulated,” Revivi told Galei Yisrael radio. Before the meeting Revivi tweeted that he was the only annexation supporter to meet Netanyahu last week, but now there were a dozen leaders of key communities on Netanyahu’s side.

Revivi said that despite the plan calling for a future Palestinian state, such a development required the Palestinians to become involved in the Trump deal.

“There is a mechanism built here to put pressure on the Palestinians, which means that if they continue to miss opportunities, they will have nothing left,” Revivi said.

In the meeting with the settlement leaders, Netanyahu pointed out that previous Israeli governments had offered 97 percent of the land to the Palestinians, who refused, but under the Trump plan Israel would retain up to 30 percent of the area – something that up until recently was only a dream.

Previous plans also called for moving 100,000 Israelis out of their homes, but under the Trump plan everyone stays in place.

Mintzer said no decision is currently being made regarding the Palestinian state. “This is a historic event, and the Prime Minister told us that later we will be more involved with the maps.”