"If I'm not PM, Trump admin's declarations won't mean a thing"

Netanyahu meets with Yesha leaders, warns of dangers of minority left-wing government relying on Arab MKs. 'We could lose everything.'

Hezki Baruch,

נתניהו עם דוד אלחיאני ושלמה נאמן
נתניהו עם דוד אלחיאני ושלמה נאמן
צילום: חזקי ברוך

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Israeli leaders from Judea and Samaria Tuesday, during Netanyahu’s visit to the town of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion.

During the closed-door meeting, Netanyahu warned that a minority government led by the Blue and White party which relies on the anti-Zionist Joint Arab List for support would constitute a major threat to the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.

“Use everything at your disposal to ensure that I stay as prime minister,” Netanyahu said. “All of America’s declarations will be meaningless if I’m not prime minister.”

“We’re on the brink of a minority government, and I’m not hearing anything from you. Great things are happing in the background, but we are in danger of losing everything.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu praised the Trump administration for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement Monday that the US does not view Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria as illegal under international law.

“I admit that I am very excited,” Netanyahu continued. “We are here, in Gush Etzion, the place where we were expelled from during the War of Independence, and yet here we are on this historic day with another amazing achievement for the State of Israel, something we worked hard for.”

“The Trump administration has now rectified a historic injustice, and promoted truth and justice. I thank President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This is a very great day for the State of Israel.”

On Monday, Pompeo announced that the US will not consider Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as illegal under international law, adding that the legality of the settlement enterprise or of individual settlements is up to Israeli courts to determine.

The move marked a drastic shift from the previous administration, which allowed the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution castigating Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria as “illegal”.

Pompeo cited the Reagan administration’s refusal to characterize Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria as illegal, a departure from the Carter administration’s policy.

"In 1978, the Carter administration categorically concluded that Israel's establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn't believe that the settlements were inherently illegal. Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal positions didn't advance peace," Pompeo explained.