Settlers, leftists plan rival welcomes for Obama

Settlers to name Karmei Tzur neighborhood after Pollard; neighborhood of modular homes will be called Tzur Yonatan.

Outgoing Yesha council leader Dani Dayan 370 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Outgoing Yesha council leader Dani Dayan 370
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Settlers will be busy naming a neighborhood of the Karmei Tzur settlement for Jonathan Pollard as US President Barack Obama lands in Israel on Wednesday for a three-day visit.
The ceremony is a statement of the importance of building in Judea and Samaria as well as a call to Obama to free Pollard who has been serving a life sentence in a US jail for passing classified information to Israel. The neighborhood of modular homes will be called Tzur Yonatan.Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
“At the time when President Obama is here, we have to raise our voices and say, ‘Let Pollard come home,’” said Davidi Perl, who heads the Gush Etzion Regional Council, in whose region Karmei Tzur is located.
He added that at the same time they will also call for the need to replace the modular homes in that neighborhood with permanent ones.
They are not the only ones using Obama’s arrival to make a statement.
As he lands, his plane will fly over a large white and blue 55-meter banner set up by Peace Now in the field by Kibbutz Nachshon near Beit Shemesh that states: “We the people want peace.”
“Peace Now wants the president to know that the Israeli public is an eager partner in the effort to achieve peace between Israel and its neighbors, and that it supports President Obama’s role in resolving the conflict,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
Once Obama lands at Ben- Gurion airport, four settler leaders will be among the many Israelis at the welcoming ceremony. The prime minister’s office invited them to participate.
The list includes Mayor Benny Kashriel, who heads the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, within whose boundaries lies the E1 building project that the US has consistently pressured Israel not to advance.
Also present will be Avi Ro’eh who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, according to his spokesman Yigal Delmonti.
Ro’eh’s predecessor Dani Dayan as well as Oded Revivi, the council head of the Efrat settlement in Gush Etzion, will also be among the guests.
Both Kashriel and Revivi had personally sent letters to Obama asking him to visit their settlements during his trip.
Both men said they did not receive a response to their letters.
Kashriel said he was pleased to have an opportunity to greet Obama at the airport.
“I am not boycotting the president,” Kashriel said. “I am turning to him and telling him that there is an opportunity here.”
Revivi added, “It is important that we show our presence, so that it is obvious to him that we are part of the general public in the State of Israel. You cannot ignore the population I am representing.”
Dayan added that the US Embassy had also invited him to attend the speech Obama plans to give to university students and select members of the Israeli public at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center. Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said she had similarly been invited to that event.
Separately, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip published a small booklet in English and Hebrew, which they want to pass onto Obama.
The booklet called, Judea and Samaria: It’s Jewish, It’s Vital, It’s Realistic, states that it is a special edition printed for Obama’s visit and includes a photo of the president.
It presents information about the significance of the area to Jewish history and Judaism, the role it plays in defense of the country and facts and figures with regard to its population.
It also argues against creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank. The booklet speaks of a nine-step plan to preserve a Jewish future in Judea and Samaria.
This includes tripling the Jewish population in the West Bank to that of one million and creating large residential areas to home this growth.
It states that belief has to be renewed in the supremacy of the Jewish claim to their homeland and the justness of controlling it. It added that it must become clear to the international community, that another state west of the Jordan River is not viable.
Right-wing activists on Tuesday also distributed the fax number of the King David Hotel where Obama is staying and urged people to send the president a letter calling for Pollard’s release and explaining that a Palestinian state already exists in Jordan.
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