(photo credit: REUTERS)
A dozen Likud ministers and MKs and dozens of activists called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday to use his meeting with US President Donald Trump Wednesday to achieve support for construction and annexation in Judea and Samaria.
Held under the banner “Netanyahu, the Likud is backing you on the Right,” the ministers and MKs signed a petition calling upon him to maintain the values of Likud.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein attended, as did ministers Gilad Erdan, Yariv Levin, Ze’ev Elkin, Ophir Akunis, Ayoub Kara, and Gila Gamliel, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, and MKs Yoav Kisch, Yehudah Glick, Nurit Koren, and Amir Ohana.
While each speaker stressed that the event was intended to strengthen Netanyahu, they each issued demands and expectations as to the outcome of the meeting.
“This is a historic time, and if our Likud government does not handle it correctly, we will be crying for generations,” Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said. “We expect new settlements to be built for the first time in 26 years. We proved we are loyal to the prime minister but we demand that he be loyal to what he has been saying for years. We don’t need American permission to build anywhere, especially in Jerusalem. We expect you to return with good results for Israel and all the settlements.”
Dagan accused Netanyahu of displaying weakness by being silent as Trump backtracked on his support for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
His fellow settler leader Avi Roeh displayed statistics indicating that construction in Judea and Samaria has fallen significantly over the past eight years.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev told the crowd that in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, this was the year to apply sovereignty to the settlements that make up what she called Greater Jerusalem and to enable a massive amount of people to move to Judea and Samaria.
“Trump understands his mission is to make America great again, and we understand that our mission is to restore our security and that comes from strengthening Judea and Samaria,” she said. “There should be news in the next year of reaching 1 million Jews in Judea and Samaria.”
Edelstein warned that what he called “the Gaza disengagement disaster” happened when the US had a pro-Israel president in George W. Bush.
Minister-without-Portfolio Ayoub Kara advised Netanyahu not to bring up the Palestinian issue when he meets with Trump, “because it is irrelevant.”
“The two-state solution has failed due to Palestinian rejection,” Hotovely said. “We can’t be the Palestinians’ hostage.
We have to do what is right for us.”
Sources close to Netanyahu expressed frustration with the event and its timing.
“It undermines the prime minister and strengthens Bayit Yehudi,” complained coalition chairman David Bitan, who boycotted the event. Pressuring the prime minister doesn’t help anything.”