Settlers will be busy naming a neighborhood of the Karmei Tzur settlement for
Jonathan Pollard as US President Barack Obama lands in Israel on Wednesday for a
The ceremony is a statement of the importance of
building in Judea and Samaria as well as a call to Obama to free Pollard who has
been serving a life sentence in a US jail for passing classified information to
Israel. The neighborhood of modular homes will be called Tzur
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“At the time when President Obama is here, we have to raise our
voices and say, ‘Let Pollard come home,’” said Davidi Perl, who heads the Gush
Etzion Regional Council, in whose region Karmei Tzur is located.
that at the same time they will also call for the need to replace the modular
homes in that neighborhood with permanent ones.
They are not the only
ones using Obama’s arrival to make a statement.
As he lands, his plane
will fly over a large white and blue 55-meter banner set up by Peace Now in the
field by Kibbutz Nachshon near Beit Shemesh that states: “We the people want
“Peace Now wants the president to know that the Israeli public is
an eager partner in the effort to achieve peace between Israel and its
neighbors, and that it supports President Obama’s role in resolving the
conflict,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
Once Obama lands at
Ben- Gurion airport, four settler leaders will be among the many Israelis at the
welcoming ceremony. The prime minister’s office invited them to
The list includes Mayor Benny Kashriel, who heads the
Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, within whose boundaries lies the E1 building project
that the US has consistently pressured Israel not to advance.
present will be Avi Ro’eh who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza Strip, according to his spokesman Yigal
Ro’eh’s predecessor Dani Dayan as well as Oded Revivi, the
council head of the Efrat settlement in Gush Etzion, will also be among the
Both Kashriel and Revivi had personally sent letters to Obama
asking him to visit their settlements during his trip.
Both men said they
did not receive a response to their letters.
Kashriel said he was pleased
to have an opportunity to greet Obama at the airport.
“I am not
boycotting the president,” Kashriel said. “I am turning to him and telling him
that there is an opportunity here.”
Revivi added, “It is important that
we show our presence, so that it is obvious to him that we are part of the
general public in the State of Israel. You cannot ignore the population I am
Dayan added that the US Embassy had also invited him to
attend the speech Obama plans to give to university students and select members
of the Israeli public at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center. Hagit
Ofran of Peace Now said she had similarly been invited to that
Separately, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria
and the Gaza Strip published a small booklet in English and Hebrew, which they
want to pass onto Obama.
The booklet called, Judea and Samaria: It’s
Jewish, It’s Vital, It’s Realistic, states that it is a special edition printed
for Obama’s visit and includes a photo of the president.
information about the significance of the area to Jewish history and Judaism,
the role it plays in defense of the country and facts and figures with regard to
It also argues against creating a Palestinian state in
the West Bank. The booklet speaks of a nine-step plan to preserve a Jewish
future in Judea and Samaria.
This includes tripling the Jewish population
in the West Bank to that of one million and creating large residential areas to
home this growth.
It states that belief has to be renewed in the
supremacy of the Jewish claim to their homeland and the justness of controlling
it. It added that it must become clear to the international community, that
another state west of the Jordan River is not viable.
activists on Tuesday also distributed the fax number of the King David Hotel
where Obama is staying and urged people to send the president a letter calling
for Pollard’s release and explaining that a Palestinian state already exists in
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