Settlement leader: UAE deal a ‘knife in our back’

Samaria regional council chairman slams Netanyahu for shelving sovereignty in exchange for peace deal with UAE.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Community leaders in Judea and Samaria continued to be split Sunday on their reaction to the pending peace deal between the UAE and Israel, with one representative calling the decision to suspend sovereignty over settlements “a knife in the back” of those living in Judea and Samaria.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, called the waiver of annexation “a turn of the knife in the back” of the settlement movement. He slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for misleading those who believed his promise that Israel would start asserting Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria beginning July 1.

“So many times he has disappointed us and fooled the public, but now the ‘scam of the century’ is one step too many,” an angry Dagan said in an interview on Jerusalem’s 101 FM radio, in a cynical reference to President Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ for Israeli-Palestinian peace under which the Americans were prepared to recognize Israeli sovereignty under certain conditions.

“This is the abandonment of Judea and Samaria in such a contemptuous way in exchange for air,” i.e, nothing, Dagan said.

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Dagan’s comments were countered by Oded Revivi, mayor of the town of Efrat, located just south of Bethlehem in the Gush Etzion bloc.

Revivi told the Texas-based Zenger wire service Sunday that postponing the sovereignty decision was a fair price to pay in exchange for peace with another Arab country.

“Netanyahu has agreed to postpone the application of Israeli sovereignty in order to formalize Israel’s relationship with the Emiratis and hopefully other Gulf States,” Revivi told Zenger.

“With Netanyahu saying that, and the administration indicating that it would not recognize the move right now, it is hard to see how credible an argument [it is] that Israel would do so [extend sovereignty] anyway at this time,” Revivi said.

Revivi said he hoped the UAE and others would come to recognize the “huge distinction” between the Palestinian people and the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

“I certainly hope it is the beginning of a peaceful era and a recognition that there are bigger priorities in the Middle East than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Revivi said, adding that terrorist organizations that reject any kind of normalization with Israel have found themselves humiliated by more practical and cooperative Arab Middle East states.