Settlement leaders are embarking on an aggressive campaign directed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump against the current formulation of the American plan for Middle East peace.
The campaign will include massive posters with the slogans”No to a Palestinian State” and “Sovereignty – Do It Right!” accompanied by images of Netanyahu and Trump. It will also include protests at intersections and in major cities.
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The settlers aim to create public pressure on the prime minister and other decision-makers to remove the proposed Palestinian state from the plan.
“In any future plan, we will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the State of Israel,” said Yesha Council Chairman David Elhayani, who has been a vocal critic of what Trump calls “the deal of the century.”
“We demand that the prime minister listen to the needs of the settlement movement and change the map to suit their needs. The map as it is presented today is the road map to a Palestinian state,” Elhayani says.
Many settler leaders have expressed concern about the implications of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which ostensibly opens the door to Israel annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the process to annex the areas will begin on July 1.
But some settlers say that the West Bank map outlined in Trump’s plan has multiple problems that could supersede the desire for annexation of parts of the territory, such as the possibility that several settlements will become enclaves within Palestinian areas.
Even so, others argue that the proposed outline should be welcomed, describing it as a “golden opportunity that might not come again.”
The Yesha campaign includes extensive print and digital messaging and activities on the ground aimed at promoting the application of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank but without recognition of a Palestinian state, a settlement construction freeze or isolating remote settlements.
The Yesha Council is determined not to accept any move that would empower a Palestinian state.
There is, however, enormous disagreement among the heads of the local councils in the West Bank, with some supporting the existing U.S. outline and others opposed, mainly due to concerns over the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu met Sunday with the heads of the councils who oppose the U.S. plan, who argued that it would lead to the creation of settlement enclaves, a lack of access roads and a construction freeze.
The prime minister also met with the heads of local councils who do support the deal, saying that the maps were not yet signed and that there was another way to implement it.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also met Monday with the settlement leaders, making it clear that the peace treaty with Jordan must be preserved and that he and the prime minister were “discussing the possible decisions on the diplomatic front and I hope that we can come to an agreement.”