With U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set to present his “framework” for a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming days, Land of Israel activists will hold a special emergency convention on Sunday. The event will take place at Ulpanat Ofra and will discuss alternatives to the Kerry plan, which the government of Israel seems ready to accept, even though details are still sketchy.
What is known about the plan, say activists, is that it entails significant Israeli withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, and/or relinquishing of territory inside the 1948 armistice lines in exchange for the so-called “settlement blocs” in Judea and Samaria.
But there are other options – specifically, the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the entire Land of Israel, say the activists. The theme of Sunday's convention will be “A single state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean – the State of Israel.”
Participating in the event will be leaders and activists of various parties, including Jewish Home and the Likud. In addition, the event will be attended by numerous activist groups, including Women in Green, Kommemiyut, Regavim, the Judea and Samaria Council, and others.
A report in Maariv Thursday said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had told Kerry that Israel needed to hold onto the area around Beit El, because the sites in the region had played a major role in Jewish history. Shilo, for example, was the home of the temporary Sanctuary (mishkan) before the building of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and the very first capital city of the Jewish people; Nabi Samuel is the burial place of the Prophet Samuel (Shmuel); and Beit El itself was the site of the famous dream of the Biblical Jacob, in which he saw angels ascending and descending from heaven. The Beit El “bloc” would be one of four Israel insists on retaining in a final-status settlement.
In order to retain the blocs, Israel has agreed to surrender land inside the1948 armistice lines. The Maariv report said that Netanyahu has nixed the idea of a “centimeter for centimeter” land swap, as the PA has demanded. At least part of the swap would come in the form of cash, or in the value of the land, cities, and industrial base that Israel would be surrendering to make the plan work.
The report said that PA negotiators have rejected both demands out of hand.