The prime minister said no more “nonsense” about uprooting settlements.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Wednesday that a Likud government would never uproot any community in Israel again, even in the framework of a peace agreement.
Speaking at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Samaria Regional Council, he declared, “Accept my commitment – it doesn’t come with a time limit: We won’t let any community in the Land of Israel be uprooted in the name of a diplomatic plan. We don’t uproot people – we’re done with that nonsense. Israel under my leadership hasn’t and won’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”
In terms of the past, the latter statement was not quite accurate, as Netanyahu allowed dozens of Jewish homes to be destroyed during his term in office in the communities of Netiv Ha’avot, Ofra and Amona.
On the other side of the coin, he built the first new village in Samaria in two decades, whose first residents were those expelled from Amona.
In front of a partisan crowd of 6,000 in the village of Revava, the prime minister then doubled down on his commitment, saying as he did in his previous campaign, “I also don’t differentiate between the large settlement blocs and isolated communities. Any such place of settlement is Israeli as far as I’m concerned.”
This was as close as Netanyahu came to his pledge, made three days before the April polls, to annex Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria if he was re-elected.
He did add that he was “currently working to secure international recognition of these principles.” And he also vowed that at least from the security aspect, Israel would always remain in control, saying, “The IDF will continue to control all the ground west of the Jordan [River], including the Jordan Valley.”
With a chance to address some 35 ministers and MKs from the Likud, Union of Right Wing Parties, Blue and White, Shas and Degel HaTorah, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan spoke of the need to apply “sovereignty” in Judea and Samaria.
“This is the time to apply sovereignty,” he declared in his speech. “Not just to the communities that consist of only 3% of the region, but to the entire region.”
Alluding to the Trump administration’s peace plan, the political aspects of which will be revealed in the Fall according to reports, he said, “In any political plan, it’s clear, and it’s our demand, that Judea and Samaria remain forever in the hands of the State of Israel.”