Ne­tanyahu mov­ing ahead with an­nex­a­tion plans

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIO­NAL -

JERUSALEM (AP):

PRIME MIN­IS­TER Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has as­sured Jewish set­tlers that he is go­ing ahead with plans to be­gin an­nex­ing parts of the oc­cu­pied West Bank next month, a set­tler rep­re­sen­ta­tive said on Mon­day.

Ne­tanyahu told a group of set­tler lead­ers late Sun­day that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Mideast plan al­low­ing the an­nex­a­tion has not been fi­nalised, Oded Re­vivi, mayor of the Efrat set­tle­ment, told The Associated Press. But Ne­tanyahu said that once a fi­nal map is agreed upon with the Amer­i­cans, he will present it to set­tler lead­ers in­di­vid­u­ally, Re­vivi said.

Re­vivi was one of a dozen set­tler lead­ers who at­tended Sun­day’s meet­ing to sup­port the an­nex­a­tion ef­fort and of­fer a coun­ter­bal­ance to grow­ing crit­i­cism of the plan among the prime min­is­ter’s na­tion­al­ist base.

An­nex­a­tion of West Bank land has long been a dream of the Is­raeli set­tler move­ment.

US OF­FER RE­JECTED

De­spite what is widely viewed as a pro-Is­rael plan, some set­tlers have voiced con­cern that Trump’s ini­tia­tive does not go far enough. They note that many set­tle­ments would be turned into iso­lated en­claves sur­rounded by Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory. They also re­ject the US of­fer to recog­nise Pales­tinian state­hood, al­beit with far less land and far less au­thor­ity than the Pales­tini­ans seek.

“This doesn’t an­swer all our dreams, but you have to keep it in per­spec­tive and see what the al­ter­na­tive is,”Re­vivi said.“We have an op­por­tu­nity with this pres­i­dent, this prime min­is­ter, and this in­ter­na­tional cli­mate, and we have to seize it.”

The schism in the set­tle­ment lead­er­ship burst into the open last week when David El­hayani, chair­man of the Ye­sha Coun­cil, an um­brella set­tlers’ group, told an Is­raeli news­pa­per that the plan was in­ad­e­quate and proved Trump was “not a friend of Is­rael”.

Ne­tanyahu, fear­ful of up­set­ting his close ally in the White House, re­sponded harshly, laud­ing Trump’s friend­ship and ac­cus­ing the set­tler lead­er­ship of be­ing un­grate­ful.

Re­vivi, a se­nior fig­ure in Ye­sha, said the ma­jor­ity of set­tlers sup­ported the plan, even if they har­bored some con­cerns, and were solidly be­hind Ne­tanyahu.

AP

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

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