Sa'ar vows to ensure Jewish continuity from Jerusalem to Dead Sea

The challenger for the Likud leadership slams Benjamin Netanyahu for broken promises in Jordan Valley.

Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar looks out over the Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Amar, West Bank, December 10, 2019 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar looks out over the Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Amar, West Bank, December 10, 2019
Likud leadership candidate Gideon Sa’ar symbolically began his campaign on Tuesday by touring sites in the Jordan Valley that are seen as a symbol of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s broken promises.
Netanyahu promised ahead of the September election to annex the Jordan Valley. Ahead of past elections, he has visited the E-1 site between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, and promised to build there. He vowed in an October 2018 cabinet building to remove the Bedouin shantytown of Khan al-Ahmar adjoining Rte. 1.
Sa’ar pointed out on the tour that Netanyahu has not kept any of those promises. He also reacted to hints from Netanyahu in a speech on Sunday that Sa’ar would not be as loyal to Judea and Samaria.
“I support the views that the prime minister expressed here during past election campaigns,” Sa’ar said mockingly at E-1. “It is possible to carry out these views better.”
Sa’ar said there was a window of opportunity to take action while Israel enjoys an administration in Washington that allows Israel a relatively free hand because there is no guarantee that the next American administration will be better. He said the time had come to take steps to ensure contiguity from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley.
“The struggle for E-1 is a struggle for the heart of Israel,” Sa’ar said. “Netanyahu out of all people, who built the Har Homa neighborhood [in Jerusalem] despite international pressure, should be building here. The rule for Har Homa should be the rule for E-1 and Givat Hamatos [in Jerusalem].”
Speaking earlier at Khan al-Ahmar, Sa’ar said the reason the illegal squatter camp  in the West Bank’s Area C was not removed was that it is not a Jewish site. He criticized Netanyahu for saying Khan al-Ahmar would be removed “very soon” and not following through.
Earlier Tuesday, in a speech to pro-Israel members of parliament from around the world at the Israel Allies Foundation conference in Jerusalem, Sa’ar said that European countries who fund Khan al-Ahmar were displaying a “lack of moral clarity,” because it was built illegally on land that is Israel’s according to the Oslo Accords and because the residents were offered a more hospitable site.
Sa’ar said that “the world is suffering from lack of moral clarity on Islamic extremism and on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” He lamented that the international community “makes excuses for Islamic terrorism instead of fighting against it” and that this lack of moral clarity was dangerous.
The meeting was attended by ministers and MPs from around the world, who presented Sa’ar with a declaration against the decision recently taken by the European Court calling for the marking of goods produced in the Judea and Samaria region, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Sa’ar pointed out that the decision was illegal, according to the rules of the World Trade Organization that forbid singling out a country.
“This is an attempt to delegitimize the right of the Jewish people to live and build our future in the land of our forefathers,” Sa’ar said. “Your announcement that you are making here today is a clear and important voice.
“Making clear the rights of the Jewish people in our homeland. Making clear you reject BDS, and recognizing BDS as a clear expression of antisemitism. Making clear that the Jewish people cannot be ‘occupiers’ in their own land.”
Sa’ar also took time to comment on the upcoming British general election on Thursday, saying that Labour’s candidate for prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, “makes clear his anti-Israel positions.”
“I truly hope he won’t win the election,” he said.
Regarding Israel’s election, Sa’ar said that polls showed he could bring support from the other side of the political map. He warned that if Netanyahu continued to lead Likud, the party would still not be able to form a government after a third election.
“I’m sure I will lead Likud to a big victory and a government led by Likud in which all the Zionist parties will be invited to negotiate,” he said. “But if we continue the same path we are on now, we should not expect different results.”
Alex Winston contributed to this report.