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June 2, 2020 11:28 am

Netanyahu Tells Settler Leaders He Will Pursue West Bank Annexation, but Only in Context of Trump Peace Plan

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A general view picture shows a construction site in Efrat, in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, Jan. 28, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / File.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of settler leaders on Tuesday that he intended to annex parts of the West Bank, but only in the context of the US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that Netanyahu met with the heads of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of local councils in the settlements, and said to them, “We face a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty to areas of Judea and Samaria.”

Netanyahu added, however, that he planned to pursue negotiations in accordance with the Trump plan.

Because the plan stipulates the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, it is bitterly opposed by many settler leaders.

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The Israeli news site Walla states that the settler leaders raised the issue of Palestinian statehood with Netanyahu and expressed their opposition to a wholesale adoption of the Trump plan because of it.

Council officials said at the end of the meeting that they were “looking forward to continuing the debate.”

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, said before the meeting that the settler leaders intended to draw a red line at Palestinian statehood.

He added that Israel should “apply sovereignty without fear and without trepidation. With the United States’ consent or without the United States’ consent.”

“We have come to give the prime minister the power to set the red lines of the Jewish people and the settlement of Judea and Samaria,” he added.

Dagan said he and his colleagues were “confident” that Netanyahu would adopt their recommendations.

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