Middle East Monitor / February 25, 2020
A senior settler leader yesterday vowed that there will be “no Arab entity” created in the occupied West Bank, reported right-wing news outlet Arutz Sheva.
Yisrael Gantz, head of the so-called Binyamin Regional Council, was speaking at a conference organised by Besheva newspaper.
Addressing the Trump administration’s plan, and its implications for West Bank settlers, Gantz told attendees that “there are about half a million Israelis who need to be in the State of Israel”.
There is an American president who knows and recognizes that we are entitled to settle our ancestral land and we should take advantage of this opportunity
The Trump administration’s plan for Israel and the Palestinians made waves for the legitimisation it purports to grant to Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Under international law, as recognised by the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice, all Israeli settlements built in occupied territory are considered illegal.
Gantz was one of the settler leaders who went to Washington DC in parallel to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to US President Donald Trump, and he told conference delegates yesterday that their presence in DC had been important.
“I am glad I went to Washington to make sure with the Prime Minister that the principles of the settlement enterprise will not be violated,” he said.
“The consensus of the heads of the settlement in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] is applying sovereignty and vigilance so that no Arab entity can begin at all here.”
Despite the plan’s recognition of many Israeli claims, according to Gantz, “I do not know one right-wing minister who would vote for this plan”, a reference to the plan’s ostensible support for Palestinian statehood – even in a truncated and restricted form.
“The question is what we are emphasizing as heads of local authorities: to make sure that sovereignty is applied and that no Palestinian state is established in the territories of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], in the heart of the country. That is clear,” Gantz declared.
“As a public, we should demand that the Prime Minister apply sovereignty [i.e. annexation] regardless of the timetable of the Americans,” he concluded.