The renewed Israeli Palestinian negotiations “are not dealing with the
evacuation of [West Bank] settlements,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said
Tuesday evening at a Rosh Hashana toast in Samaria with settler
The Samaria Regional Council relayed his words to the media.
According to the council, Ya’alon questioned the assumption that in exchange for
the word peace, Israel would relinquish territory.
“In the Middle East,
we need to talk about interests and not signed agreements,” he said. He added
that the settlements in Judea and Samaria were important to the home-front
defense of the nation and therefore needed to be strengthened and
Meanwhile Tuesday, Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish
Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, stated that renewed peace
talks could only lead to a Palestinian state with temporary borders and would
not end in a final-status agreement.
“Our fear is of an interim agreement
under American pressure whose central points will be Israeli recognition of a
Palestinian state with temporary borders, and a decision to hand over sections
of Area C to the Palestinians,” Ro’eh said on Tuesday in a rare press
“This can only harm Israel,” he contended. “It won’t improve
our standing in Europe or in other areas.”
He was standing in the newly
inaugurated visitor center at the biblical archeological tourist site on the
edge of the Shiloh settlement, in the West Bank’s Binyamin region. The round,
glass-paned room in which he spoke gave a panoramic view of the West Bank hills
with their olive trees and terraced stone walls.
Ro’eh accused the United
States of pushing for renewed talks so it could chalk up one success in a region
where it had suffered one failure after another.
“We saw how [US
President Barack Obama] retreated from attacking Syria, but is pressing Israel
to come to an agreement with the Palestinians that neither side wants – not the
Israelis and not the Palestinians,” he said.
“There won’t be a final
status agreement, because the Palestinians do not know how to give, only to
take,” he went on, declaring that “two states for two peoples won’t happen
He added that what was needed instead was a process that would
enable Israelis and Palestinians to have good relations.
In light of what
is happening in other countries in the region, he said, “the Palestinians here
are living in Eden.”
Israel takes care of their security, and there is
local autonomy over 90 percent of their daily lives, he pointed out.
expressed hope that in the coming year, the building of new homes for Judea and
Samaria residents would continue.
Under Ya’alon, the ministry has been
supportive of building projects for the settlements and has helped to advance
them, he added.
With respect to the Amona outpost, which is under threat
of demolition and against which there is a case in both the High Court of
Justice and the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Ro’eh said he believed the
community would not be destroyed.
He explained that in one way or
another, the community would eventually receive authorization.
worst-case scenario, he said, homes would be moved from private Palestinian
property to purchased lots, so the community could remain on its
“The settlement enterprise won’t rise and fall on the issue of
Amona,” said Ro’eh, even though he understood the pain of the families whose
homes might be destroyed by a court order.
He said he intended to respect
the final will of the court.
The best option in cases such as Amona is to
compensate Palestinians on whose property Jewish homes have been built, he
He noted that in the case of the Migron outpost, the Jewish homes
on private Palestinian property had been destroyed last year, but Palestinians
were still unable to access their property.
Ro’eh also condemned
incidents of settler violence against Palestinians and the IDF.