The settlements' red lines

YESHA Council meets with leaders of right-wing parties, explains its demands from the next government.

Nitzan Kedar,

Hananel Dorani
Hananel Dorani
Hillel Meir/ TPS

The YESHA Council will present on Wednesday its demands for development in Judea and Samaria to the right-wing parties, in an effort to ensure those demands are incorporated into coalition negotiations.

Arutz Sheva has discovered that Judea and Samaria leaders have already held meetings with senior members of right-wing parties, including the Likud, and explained their two basic demands, which the Council believes must be included in any coalition agreement.

Hananel Dorani, who heads the Yesha Regional Council and the Kedumim Council, said the goal is to prevent a situation in which recent achievements disappear during the next Knesset.

"We want to ensure that concern for the settlements is a priority," Dorani said. "I am worried for two reasons: A unity government may mean a frozen government, maybe not like it was in the past, but without the ability to move forward. It worries me that such a government will bring back the talks about [settlement] blocs, which we have tried to eliminate."

"I'm also worried that we're going to create all sorts of limits for ourselves, despite the fact that from the Americans' perspective, these don't exist. And obviously, above everything, there is the peace plan, and we have no idea what it will include."

Dorani presented the parties with his two main demands.

"Our strategic goals have not changed and they will not change no matter what government is formed," he said. "We will continue working to strengthen the settlements and to advance the dreams of a million residents."

"First and foremost, this entails continuing to advance plans. In the past two years, since [US President Donald] Trump has been in the White House, there has been an excellent window of opportunity. There are still limits on the plans, but at the end of the day we did a lot of work to advance plans and construction and we will work to ensure this continues.

"If the White House does not present obstacles, then certainly we do not have to place them ourselves. And if the White House policy changes, we are here to fight to ensure there will be no obstacles."

The second demand, he said, is advancing normalization of the settlements: "We tried to make progress with [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu in the previous government, not so successfully. We did good work but the committee's decisions were not advanced. We must normalize existing settlements for which the status is unclear and which cannot develop."

"If we need to recognize a neighborhood as part of an existing town or declare a new town then we need to do that. We intend to insist on this and to try to see, also in coalition negotiations, how this can fit in with the government's basic principles."

Netanyahu's promise to apply sovereignty encouraged the YESHA Council but it did not cause them to become content, he said. "There's been huge advances, including Netanyahu's announcement that he will apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and his statement that he is examining expanding sovereignty over the towns. We will work to ensure that this moves forward - and if this is approved, it will be possible to apply sovereignty to the areas around towns as well."

Dorani also said that the meetings to discuss the settlements will not end with the right-wing parties: If Blue and White are partners in the government, there will be efforts to hold similar discussions with them.

"We will want to meet with them as well and ensure that they take care of the settlements. Within the party are those who are loyal to the settlements, especially in [Blue and White leader MK] Moshe Ya'alon's faction with [MK] Zvi Hauser. A while ago we had a discussion with [Blue and White leader MK] Yair Lapid, and we need to be in better contact with him."




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