Netanyahu to visit West Bank for security assessment by IDF

It’s his third trip to the West Bank since the start of the election period, and follows trips to the settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and Eli.

March 10, 2015 05:57
4 minute read.

Tzipi Hotovely of Likud

Tzipi Hotovely of Likud


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to the West Bank on Tuesday to receive a security assessment from the IDF as part of a renewed focus to court the right-wing vote with respect to Judea and Samaria.

It’s his third trip to the West Bank since the start of the election period, and follows trips to the settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and Eli.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The media visual of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at the IDF’s headquarters in Judea and Samaria on the edge of Ramallah is likely to underscore his statement from Sunday that territorial concessions cannot be made to the Palestinians at this time out of fear that Iran-backed terrorist organizations would seize that land.

During his last six years in office, Netanyahu has had a love-hate relationship with the settlers, who believe he is strong on security but weak on settlement building. They are also frustrated that he has failed to create a standardized system to legalize unauthorized Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

In the last election, the combined Likud and Yisrael Beytenu list fell behind the Bayit Yehudi party in Judea and Samaria by 8,000 votes.

The Bayit Yehudi has a clear platform to annex Area C of the West Bank, where all the settlements are located, and is opposed to a two-state solution.

On Friday, the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot published an article that said Netanyahu had been willing to make major territorial concessions to the Palestinians during the last round of US-led talks that ended in April 2014 without any tangible results.

Netanyahu shot back by speaking against concessions, in a statement that led many to speculate that he had now disavowed his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech in which he supported two states for two peoples.

The Prime Minister’s Office denied that interpretation.

But Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said there was no other way to understand his words.

Hotovely is among the more right-wing members of the party, and on Monday she traveled in a blue Likud campaign bus, nicknamed the “Bibi bus,” to the West Bank settlements of Ariel, Eilon Moreh and Shiloh to show her party’s support for those communities.

The Likud has promised that Judea and Samaria, as well as a united Jerusalem, will forever remain in Israeli hands, she said.

Hotovely has supported legislation to annex Judea and Samaria under Israeli sovereignty, even though Netanyahu has not.

Hotovely noted that she had the idea long before Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, and that many legislators in the Likud also stood behind this idea.

It was clear to her that the Likud is the best option for those who want to secure the future of the settlement enterprise.

“There is just one party that will make sure that this beautiful enterprise will remain and blossom after the election,” she said.

Hotovely warned that without a strong Likud, the next government could be led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union.

“Netanyahu’s announcement is that we cannot speak of giving up Judea and Samaria when the fundamental Islamic movements are on our borders. It is very clear that no agreement can be signed when you have such a thought about this place,” Hotovely said.

“This place will remain [in Israeli hands] and Jerusalem will remain united. I do not know of even one Arab [Palestinian] who would accept a Jewish state in any borders,” she said. “It means that today, more than ever, we need to go on strengthening these areas and not those parties who would give up these areas.”

She spoke as she stood atop Mount Kabir by the Eilon Moreh settlement, with its view of the Palestinian city of Nablus and the surrounding hilltops.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Monday chalked Netanyahu’s pledge not to give territory to the Palestinians for a state to election campaigning.

“A lot of things are said during elections campaigns. We will wait to see what the policies of the next government will be. We will see what happens during the course of the elections,” she said.

But Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator to the peace talks, said that he hoped Netanyahu’s statements would be “an eye-opener.”

“He was never a man of the two-state solution,” The New York Times quoted Erekat as saying.

Erekat told Al Jazeera on Sunday that when Netanyahu was given a choice between settlements and peace he has repeatedly chosen settlements.

“Netanyahu’s policies are a major threat to peace and stability in the region,” Erekat said.

The Palestinians have insisted that they will only negotiate a final-status agreement with Israel on the basis of a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines with minor land swaps.

Following Netanyahu’s comments, Zionist Union co-leader Tzipi Livni said that the prime minister had caused Israel to be isolated.

“When the Bar-Ilan speech cannot be believed, then the speech on Iran cannot be believed either,” Livni said, referring to the speech on Iran that Netanyahu delivered to the US Congress last week.

The Zionist Union hopes to retain the settlement blocs for Israel in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians, while relinquishing the isolated settlements.

Last week, Herzog visited the Gush Etzion bloc and said he believed it should be part of Israel’s final borders. Netanyahu had planned to visit Gush Etzion on Tuesday, but canceled the trip.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

Related Content

Gideon Sa'ar
March 24, 2015
Sa'ar says national unity government is 'still on the table'