‘No half sovereignty’: Judea, Samaria leaders express fear settlements will be left behind

Netanyahu is clearly sensitive to the right-wing criticism.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

“There is no half sovereignty” is the theme of a new campaign launched by the Samaria Regional Council this week.

The campaign, which demands that the government reject the provision of Trump’s Mideast peace plan that calls for recognizing a Palestinian state, expresses the concerns of those criticizing the prime minister’s annexation plan from Israel’s Right.

The campaign also demands that no freeze be imposed on settlements outside the main blocs. Such settlements will be allowed to expand upwards but not outwards.

It also calls for four communities in northern Samaria that had been destroyed during the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip to be rebuilt.

In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, wrote: “You must also announce the application of sovereignty in the four northern Samaria communities, where Israeli control is critical to the survival of the State of Israel.”

Settlement leaders are split over the Trump plan. Several have expressed reservations and even opposition given that the proposal calls for Israeli acceptance of a Palestinian state and only includes 30 percent of Judea and Samaria for Israel while the lion’s share of the territory goes to the Palestinians.

The plan’s opponents note that of that 30 percent, 20 percent is in the Jordan Valley and only 10 percent in the hill country. They also point out that several settlements will be cut off under the plan, including those near the city of Hebron, as the roads and highways leading to them will be in Palestinian territory.

Boaz Haetzni, a commentator friendly to the settlement enterprise, writes in this week’s Makor Rishon, “Celebratory declarations that no Jew will be driven out is a lie. Tens of outposts will be uprooted in the framework of the plan, a goal that was blurred over in order to tempt the residents to pass the plan with right-wing voices and with trumpet blasts.”

Netanyahu, who also has to contend with opposition from the Israeli Left and European Union for different reasons – mainly that it would spell the end to the two-state solution – as well as with warnings from the defense establishment that annexation could lead to Palestinian unrest, is clearly sensitive to the right-wing criticism.

In a lengthy interview that appeared in the same issue of Makor Rishon, the prime minister drew a line between annexation and a Palestinian state. He noted that the Trump plan did not oblige him to accept a Palestinian state, rather to carry out negotiations with the PA on the basis of the plan.

Netanyahu said that the Trump plan was a gamechanger in that unlike other U.S. peace plans, it didn’t demand that Israel first withdraw and make concessions before receiving something in return. Trump’s plan expects something of the Palestinian side, Netanyahu said.