Settler leader under fire for anti-Netanyahu comments

Avi Ro’eh heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.

November 29, 2015 07:17
2 minute read.
A Palestinian protester sits in middle of a road as Israeli troops fire tear gas during clashes

A Palestinian protester sits in middle of a road as Israeli troops fire tear gas during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Settler leader Avi Ro’eh was harshly chastised by a number of local council heads in Judea and Samaria on Sunday, for stating that a government led by Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog would have more global backing than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fight Palestinian terrorism.

“I think it would receive greater support from the international community and so it could take harsher steps,” said Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.

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He made his comments in an interview with Channel 2 that was shot on Friday at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, where four people lost their lives in Palestinian terrorist attacks in the last nine days.

It was aired on Saturday night.

On Sunday, Beit Aryeh council head Avi Naim said that Ro’eh “was speaking for himself. What he said was incorrect and did not represent the opinions of the council heads in Judea and Samaria.”

“When the Left was in the government we suffered from constant and relentless abuse. The statement was irresponsible. The only purpose it will serve is to help the Left’s next election campaign,” Naim said.

Herzog, who is the opposition leader, immediately responded on Facebook.

“Avi Ro’eh is right. I would be harsher and handle the terrorism better,” Herzog said. “A government without an initiative and without international support cannot bring about the change that Israel deserves,” he said.

Efrat Council head Oded Revivi said he does not believe that Herzog would be an improvement over Netanyahu.

“Would you [Herzog] authorize thousands of new homes in Judea and Samaria as the proper Zionist response to terrorism?” Revivi asked.

He noted that it was a Laborled government that had handed weapons to the Palestinian security forces, a move he believed made the situation of Palestinian terrorism worse, not better.

But Ro’eh in his Channel 2 interview said that what is needed now are harsh military measures against the Palestinians, particularly in their villages and cities, such as Hebron.

He believes that Netanyahu was hesitant to take such steps because he lacked international support.

“If the [IDF] does not stop them here [in Gush Etzion], they will get to Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat,” he said. “Jews are being killed here because they are Jews. If this happened in France, the government would offer to help, but here they are not doing what they need to do.”

Ro’eh, who is a member of the Likud Party, said he does not have a personal issue with Netanyahu, but is simply opposed to the way he has handled the wave of terrorism since October 1.

“I have a problem with the decisions he has taken,” said Ro’eh. “I call on all the government ministers to show some courage and call for drastic steps.”

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