Samaria mountains 521.
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Next Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to attend his first West Bank celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the settlement of Judea and Samaria.
The Samaria Regional Council, which announced Netanyahu’s attendance, will be hosting and organizing the August 28th event at the Barkan Industrial Park.
Ministers and parliamentarians will be among the attendees. This includes Likud ministers Israel Katz, Ofir Akunis, Gila Gamliel and Tzahi Hanegbi as well as Bayit Yehudi ministers Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel.
The event takes place two weeks prior to the formal governmental ceremony scheduled for September 13th at Kfar Etzion in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
The Samaria celebration coincides with the first visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to Israel and the Palestinian territories on August 28th and 29th. A US delegation led by US envoys Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner and US Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell is due in the region in the next nine days.
On Sunday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Meretz delegation led by its party head MK Zahava Gal-On that he has met some 20 times with envoys from the Trump Administration.
“Each time, they have emphasized their commitment and allegiance to the two-state solution and to the cessation of building in the settlements. I have urged them to say the same thing to Netanyahu, but they have refrained from doing so. I am not sure what this means with regard to the continuation of the talks or with regard to the results of the upcoming visit.”
Since taking office in January, Trump has publicly asked Netanyahu to constrain settlement construction but has not condemned it. The State Department has said that it is not helpful to the peace process. Israel has maintained that it can continue to build in settlements.
The Palestinians have insisted that such activity is a stumbling block to peace. Under the Obama administration, the PA refused to talk to Israel until it halted all West Bank settlement building as well as the construction of Jewish homes in east Jerusalem.
Israel has insisted that PA support for terror and not settlements are the stumbling bloc to peace.
In the last half-year Netanyahu has been particularly vocal in his support of West Bank settlement activity and Israel’s continued presence in Judea and Samaria.