Bennett ‘shocked’ by US pushback on Judea and Samaria building – report

The Israeli prime minister was reportedly caught off guard by the intensity of U.S. resistance to the expansion of Jewish communities over the Green Line.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was “surprised” by the intensity of U.S. pushback on potential Jewish building in Judea and Samaria, a new report revealed Wednesday morning.

During a recent security cabinet meeting in which he recapped his visit to the White House and meeting with President Joe Biden, Bennett said American resistance to the expansion of Jewish communities over the Green Line had caught him off guard.

“I was surprised by the American pressure against construction in Judea and Samaria. It is critical to them,” Army Radio quoted Bennett as saying.

In response to the report, MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionist party said that Bennett’s surprise was characteristic of his time in office.

“Naftali Bennett is also surprised by the Iranian threat, the fact that the coronavirus is a pandemic that can’t be defeated in five weeks, and that despite the fact that Israel is indeed the start-up nation, that doesn’t mean it is legitimate to make an exit and leave scorched earth in your wake,” Rothman wrote on Twitter.

The prime minister’s office has refused to confirm or deny the report’s accuracy.

While Bennett has publicly painted a rosy picture about his time in Washington, a number of unexpected moves after his return to the Jewish State have ramped up speculation around possible ultimatums which were laid out by Biden during the visit.

On the heels of a late August meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — the first sit-down involving such high-level Palestinian and Israeli lawmakers in a decade — right wing Israeli political figures posited theories as to why Bennett had allowed the meeting to take place.

Some suggested that Bennett gave the green light to the meeting due to pressure from U.S. President Biden, as the American president reportedly brought up the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Jewish building in Judea and Samaria during Bennett’s visit to Washington.

“The pressure that President Biden put on Bennett at their meeting to begin a political process is beginning to give its signals,” said Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“Bennett’s first task upon his return to Israel was to send Defense Minister Ganz to negotiate with a terrorist [Abbas] and prove to the people of Israel that it is not a right-wing government, but a left-wing government.”