Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared once again, in a special ceremony marking 50 years since the liberation of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan valley and the Golan Heights, that the government of Israel will never again uproot settlements from disputed territories. Netanyahu said, “Ahead of everything else and in a clear manner, there will be no more uprooting of settlements in the country of Israel. It is not just a question of the connection to the homeland, of course it is part of it. First of all, it is not the way to achieve peace. We will not uproot Jews nor Arabs.” The Israeli leader further elaborated on the matter by pointing to the fact that since Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, instead of peace the Jewish state was faced by a surge of violence and cross-border attacks, which Netanyahu asserted where a preview to what is happening across the Middle East, where Islamist Jihadists continue to wreak havoc in territories they conquer, just as was the case in the Gaza Strip when the Islamist Hamas took over the Palestinian enclave. Netanyahu declared, “We didn’t receive peace when we uprooted settlements, we received missiles and terror, and we will not do that again. That disengagement was a preview of what is happening in the Middle East. Every territory that falls to the hands of the Islamic State is turning into a base of destruction, violence and death. We will not abandon our national home to danger, instead we will strengthen the house with momentum (progress),” the Israeli leader said to thousands of supporters.
Amid international pressure on Israel to halt settlement construction on disputed lands the Palestinians demand for their future state, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized the strong links the Jewish people have to their ancient homeland, re-emphasizing that the Jewish state under his leadership will continue its policy of building and progress.
That said, while Prime Minister Netanyahu continues a vocal position with regard to advancing his government’s construction policy on what international law defines as ‘disputed lands’, new reports indicate a change, in which Jerusalem is expected to hold back its construction approach due to growing pressure from Washington. According to senior Israeli sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Trump administration issued a warning to Prime Minister Netanyahu to hold back on excessive building on lands the Palestinians demand for a future state, a message Netanyahu relayed to the leadership of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, during a meeting in which representatives presented the prime minister with a list of demands for improving infrastructure in settlements and seeking approval for 10,000 new housing units in the area. Netanyahu reportedly stressed that the Trump administration was gearing up to announce plans to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, thus forcing Israel to act with responsibility and discretion. Netanyahu emphasized that his government is not interested in quarreling with a friendly US Administration, thus would heed the demands by Washington to avoid launching new construction programs in the West Bank on large scales. A settler official who attended the meeting revealed that participants left the meeting “extremely concerned” that Netanyahu was effectively preparing the ground for Trump’s political program which will require that Israel relinquish territory in the West Bank to the Palestinians and that the Israeli leader had already reconciled himself with such an eventuality.