“You will quickly lose control, and what will basically happen is a state like Gaza will be established,” said Bezalel Smotrich.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Bezalel Smotrich, a Knesset member from the Yemina party, explained to The New York Times on Monday why he and others on the Right are opposed to President Trump’s peace plan despite the fact that it would allow Israeli sovereignty to be extended over parts of Judea and Samaria.
Smotrich is concerned about the future establishment of a Palestinian state and the transformation of Jewish settlements into isolated enclaves that would eventually be swallowed up by that state.
“It’s either or,” Smotrich said. “Either the settlements have a future, or the Palestinian state does — but not both.”
Yochai Damri, chairman of the South Hebron Hills Regional Council, also expressed concern over the isolation of Jewish communities under the plan. “No one will want to live in an enclave, no one will want to build a home in an enclave, and no one will be able to sell their home in an enclave,” he said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with settlement leaders from Judea and Samaria who are opposed to the Trump plan.
Not all settlement leaders are opposed to the plan, however.
According to Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat, the chance to apply sovereignty in the designated areas could be lost if Trump loses the next election, so Israel should take the opportunity while it lasts. “Eat it now, before the ice cream melts,” he said.
Revivi also doubts that Palestinians would turn “from wolves into sheep” and accept the plan’s conditions for a Palestinian state.
Among the plan’s conditions, the Palestinians would be expected to give up the ‘right of return,’ accept Israeli security control over the territories, and recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
But Smotrich warns that even if Israel applies sovereignty according to the Trump plan now, a future American administration may not hold the Palestinians to the same conditions.
“Very quickly, all those conditions will be forgotten,” Smotrich said. “You will quickly lose control, and what will basically happen is a state like Gaza will be established.”
Smotrich said he would prefer the status quo over a plan that even contemplates allowing for a Palestinian state at the expense of Jewish settlements.
“I don’t want shortcuts that harm my ability to put facts on the ground and that weaken the settlements,” he said. “If the sovereignty map is favorable, I will accept it with open arms. If not, I prefer to go without it.”
Smotrich said, “I will persevere, work hard, set up settlements and fight with the Palestinians for another 20 years. And in 20 years, the American government will give me sovereignty over all of the territory, because there will be settlements on all of the territory.”