Settlers to Netanyahu: Yes, you can say no to Obama

Protesters lobbying PM to refuse US initiated 90-day settlement freeze make play on Obama's famous "Yes we can" election slogan.

November 23, 2010 05:28
2 minute read.
Settler leaders Naftalie Bennet, director-general

Settler Leaders 311. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

“Yes, you can say no,” to the US, settlers told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, as they set up a large white protest tent outside his Jerusalem office.

They hung a poster with the slogan, which makes a play on the famous “Yes we can,” phrase made popular by US President Barack Obama during his election campaign, inside and outside the tent.

Here, with the help of generators, they spent the day on laptops and cell phones lobbying against plans by Netanyahu to impose a US initiated 90-day settlement freeze.

Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro’eh, who worked there instead of his office said, “We have an obligation to fight for the basic rights of our residents.”

Although settlers feel that the possibility of a freeze wanes with each day that passes without written US pledges in exchange for a freeze, they are leaving nothing to chance.

When news that a moratorium was possible broke on November 13, settlers feared that it was imminent.

“Ten days later, it seems quite different. We are aware that it is an uphill battle and it will not be easy to win. But we have reason to be cautiously optimistic,” said Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Increasingly, the perception is that the US package of incentives for the freeze is not as it was first described and is as full of holes as Swiss cheese, he said.

Dayan was careful to note that the settlers are not attacking Netanyahu, rather they are calling on him to return to his ideological roots.

“He is flirting with ideas that he himself does not believe and has never believed in,” Dayan said.

“We call on him to return to his roots” and to stay true to past promises he made to the Israeli public to support Judea and Samaria, said Dayan.

Meanwhile, a group which calls itself Mateh Ha’aretz posted a video on YouTube ( atch?v=Pa7v0gn5vkY) which showed how Netanyahu has flip-flopped in the last year with regard to a Palestinian state and West Bank Jewish construction.

“What has happened to Bibi?” it asked, before presenting allegedly conflicting statements and decisions the prime minister had made in the press.

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