‘THERE WILL be war over Amona,’ the graffiti reads at the outpost in the Binyamin region of Samaria in the West Bank.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Settler leaders have embarked on a campaign to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from enacting any plan to strengthen the settlement blocs, while freezing the isolated communities.
“The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, has embarked on a campaign under the slogan: ‘Stop the Netanyahu government’s [settlement] bloc plan.’"
The flyer for the campaign takes aim at Netanyahu as well as the heads of three other parties in the coalition, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi), Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu).
Bennett was included in the flyer even though he has repeatedly called for the annexation of Area C of the West Bank and has opposed any construction plan that focuses solely on the blocs.
Netanyahu has not announced such a settlement bloc plan, which is akin to what Zionist Union leaders and MKs Isaac Herzog and Tzippi Livni promoted in the last election.
But the settler’s council believes that statements Netanyahu has made allude to such a plan. It points to this week’s notification by Netanyahu and Liberman of the construction of some 2,500 settler homes, which noted all but 160 structures would be within the blocs.
Settler leaders fear Netanyahu intends to present such a plan to President Donald Trump when the two leaders meet in Washington next month.
“In another two weeks, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave for the United States for a meeting with President Trump, he will have in his hand a plan that expresses Left-wing policy, which is building solely in the blocs and freezing construction in the wider Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” a council statement said.
Settler leaders said they are also calling on Netanyahu to renew building everywhere in Judea and Samaria before he leaves for Washington.
Netanyahu’s use of the term settlement blocs was a serious warning sign that called into question this government’s policy with respect to the settlements, the leaders said. Council head Avi Ro’eh said that Israel now has a once-in-life-time chance to change the policy with respect to building in Judea and Samaria, because Netanyahu’s trip will have a determinative impact on “Israeli policy toward the settlements for the next eight-years.”
Separately, the council plans to hold a one-day strike in support of the Amona outpost. The High Court of Justice has ruled that the 40 families who live there must be evacuated by February 8.
A deal by which the families would have left quietly is on hold, with Amona residents charging that the state has not lived up to its agreement to relocate them to another plot of land on the same hilltop. On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice will hear a Palestinian petition against the deal.
The Amona families have said that only the Knesset’s passage of the settlements bill legalizing illegally built settlements will ensure a peaceful evacuation.
The bill is due out of a joint Law and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee on Monday. The text the joint committee plans to vote on currently excludes Amona because of the HCJ ruling. The Amona families have asked that a clause protecting them be included in the bill.
Once the bill has left the committee, it needs a second and third Knesset reading to become law.