Settler leaders hold emergency meeting against renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks

Council of Jewish Communities in West Bank ask to meet with PM.

Jewish boys in the West Bank's Bruchin 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Jewish boys in the West Bank's Bruchin 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Settler leaders on Sunday afternoon held an emergency meeting in Jerusalem against renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks, but have yet to formulate a clear battle plan to oppose them.
Following the meeting, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip asked to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It also plans to hold a joint meeting in the Knesset Tuesday with the Land of Israel parliamentary lobby group.
The council is operating under the assumption that three major points widely published in the media with regard to the talks are true: that they will be based on the pre-1967 lines; Palestinian prisoners will be released; and that there will be some form of a settlement freeze.
There is some speculation among settlers that Netanyahu might temporarily break the de facto freeze that exists on the publication of tenders for West Bank settlements, as a prelude to a more lasting freeze.
They have speculated that this break in the de facto freeze would be taken at the same time that Netanyahu announces plans to release Palestinian prisoners.
Talks under these conditions are very dangerous, said Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Lahiani.
“You should not enter negotiations when you do not know how you are going to get out of them,” Lahiani said.
“What are this government’s red lines?” he asked.
It is not possible to conclude a peace deal, Lahiani said, adding that Israel will be blamed when the talks fall apart.
Israel’s situation after the talks will be worse than before, Lahiani warned.
Efrat Council head Oded Revivi said that he supported the idea of talking with the Palestinians, to better understand how best to live alongside them.
But he warned, the United States was mistaken if it believed that negotiations should occur in an atmosphere where Israelis and Palestinians could not meet each other’s expectations.
“Everyone has expectations that are obvious the other side will not agree upon,” Revivi said.
He was particularly opposed, he said, to the idea of releasing Palestinian terrorists as a precondition to renewed talks.
“It’s absurd,” he said and added that it was proof that Israel and the Palestinians were not on the same wavelength.
Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said that more terror attacks would follow as a result of the prisoner release.
“Peace and security will not come as a result,” Kashriel said.
He urged the government to break its de facto freeze on building tenders and not to halt any other kind of settlement activity.
West Bank building, particularly in the settlement blocs such as Ma’aleh Adumim, should continue as an Israeli right, and should not be linked to the talks or to punishment measures toward the Palestinians, as it has in the past, he said.
“We should build in Judea and Samaria, particularly in areas where there is consensus,” he said.