Jewish youth hold Israeli flags at the beginning of a rally march in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus..
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
One settler leader spent his time at AIPAC and in Washington this week talking about annexation of the West Bank and settlement building, instead of attacking the leading pro-Israel lobbying group.
“It’s no secret that in the Knesset there have been different attempts regarding annexation or adopting Israeli law in Judea and Samaria,” said Efrat Council head Oded Revivi. “I think the time has come to apply Israeli law in Judea and Samaria.”
Revivi, who is also the Yesha Council’s chief foreign envoy, spoke at an event held Monday afternoon at a synagogue near the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering.
It was organized by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the Yesha Council and the Jordan Valley Regional Council, and included a number of politicians such as Bayit Yehudi Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, as well as settler leaders who were in Washington for the conference.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan launched a political campaign to pressure AIPA C to eliminate support for a two-state solution from its platform.
But Oded told The Jerusalem Post he preferred to engage in dialogue with AIPA C, even though his stance on policy issues with regard to Israel clearly differs from that of the organization.
The Yesha Council similarly did not sign onto Dagan’s campaign.
“There is no doubt that AIPA C is the strongest organization around the world fighting for the State of Israel, which has relied many times on AIPA C,” Revivi told the Post by telephone from Washington.
At Monday’s event he stayed away from the two-state issue, focusing instead on the need to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, to call for more settlement building and to oppose the BDS movement.
The time has come, he said, to abolish the antiquated laws left over from the Jordanian, British and Ottoman governments that had ruled the area.
“Applying Israeli law on the region of Judea and Samaria will clarify the rules and regulations with relation to daily life in the region – and by doing so demonstrate to the world that on a day-to-day basis, we are actively living peacefully and [in] cooperation with our neighbors,” he said.
“While we deeply appreciate President [Donald] Trump and his historical decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, building in Judea and Samaria during the first year of the Trump administration has not kept pace with the needs of the growing population.
We appeal to the president to allow us to build according to our needs,” he said.
Revivi called on the audience to send messages to AIPA C asking why representatives of the Yesha Council were not invited to address the 2018 policy conference.
He also suggested that they take some of the products on display in the room which were produced in West Bank industrial zones that employ both Israelis and Palestinians.
“Spread the word that these are the true symbols of peace,” Revivi said.