The European Union’s decision to end cooperation with Israel over the Green Line
augmented pressure from right-wing politicians on Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Wednesday.
The politicians said that before the EU’s
decision, they were prepared to tolerate Netanyahu making limited gestures to
the Palestinians to bring them to the negotiating table. But they said that now
they see that there is no point in taking such steps, because international
pressure will come no matter what Israel does.
“If the Europeans pressure
us, there is no reason to make gestures to the Palestinians,” said Deputy
Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu), a resident of Kfar Eldad in Gush
“Now we will need to end the freeze in construction in Judea and
Samaria to compensate the residents for what they will lose from the EU
The Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus will hold an emergency
meeting on Tuesday calling for an end to the freeze. The event will be held
under the banner “No more free gifts to the Palestinians.
Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria now!” The caucus’s co-chair, Bayit Yehudi MK
Orit Struck, a resident of Hebron, said the EU’s decision proved the freeze’s
folly. She said Israel needed to resume building, not to punish the Europeans
but because there was no reason for 700,000 Israelis to suffer for diplomatic
talks that will not happen because they were being torpedoed by the
Struck praised Netanyahu for passing the first test by not
caving into European demands immediately. She said it was up to her caucus to
ensure that he stays strong.
“The Europeans expected Netanyahu to
surrender to their threats and extortion,” Struck said. “They did not realize
how connected Israelis are to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.”
Struck will both pressure Netanyahu to stop the Europeans from investing in West
Bank projects that benefit the Palestinians and from funding left-wing Israeli
“We need to make clear to them that they have what to
lose,” Struck said. “That is the only way to get them to stop their
Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud Beytenu) said
he has told the Europeans for years that if they want to play a role in the
peace process, they have to act in a more balanced manner.
unilaterally that the border will be on pre-1967 lines with Jerusalem as the
capital of a Palestinian state, they shot themselves in the foot once again,”
“They put yet another obstacle in the way of the peace
process. They should have seen that the ball was in the Palestinians’ court, not