George Papadopoulos shakes hands with Yossi Dagan.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF THE SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL.)
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan had posed for the camera with Trump Advisor George Papadopoulos, who was indicted on Monday for his alleged contacts with Russian government officials during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
The two men spoke while Dagan was in Washington for the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump.
Dagan was the only settler leader to publicly endorse Trump prior to the election, and held a number of meetings with his advisors, during both the campaign and inauguration week, to sway the administration into taking a positive stance with regard to West Bank settlements.
Papadopoulos’ ties to the Middle East, including supportive statements he made about Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria, are not part of the indictment.
A short video of the meeting, shot by the Samaria Regional Council and published by The Jerusalem Post
, reflected the euphoria of the first days of Trump’s administration.
Dagan at the time had been particularly hopeful that Trump would be more accepting of West Bank settlements than his predecessor, Barak Obama.
Papadopoulos’ words helped support that feeling, particularly his use of the phrase “Judea and Samaria”, as opposed to “West Bank settlements”.
In the video, Dagan showed Papadopoulos a map of the settlements.
“We had an excellent meeting with Yossi and we hope that the people of Judea and Samaria will have a great 2017. We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel, including the historic Judea and Samaria,” Papadopoulos said to the camera.
Then the two men, both of whom wore suits and ties, smiled for the camera. They shook hands and hugged.
The Samaria Regional Council had no comment as of press time.