Yossi Dagan: 'Trump is a friend of Israel - but we don't need his permission'

Settlement leader critical of US peace plan defends President Trump, but urges Netanyahu not to base sovereignty plan on US requirements.

Hezki Baruch ,

Yossi Dagan (2nd from right) in Washington
Yossi Dagan (2nd from right) in Washington

Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan defended President Donald Trump and his administration Tuesday from criticism by a senior settlement leader, even as he continued to urge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reject parts of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Dagan, a staunch critic of the Trump plan, nevertheless rejected accusations by fellow settlement leader, Yesha Council chief and Jordan Regional Council chairman David Elhayani, who said the Trump plan’s support for Palestinian statehood proved President Trump and senior advisor Jared Kushner are not “friends of Israel”.

“David Elhayani is a friend of mine and a good person who cares greatly about the Land of Israel and the settlement enterprise – even if we have disagreements about his comments, he spoke from the heart because of real fears, and at the end of the day what is really important is getting the prime minister to apply sovereignty completely over all of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, and of course to prevent the existential danger posed by the establishment of a terrorist state and turning [Israeli towns] into isolated enclaves.”

“Trump is a true and great friend to the State of Israel in the White House, and it is because of that that President Trump needs to understand, as a friend, Israel’s interests: yes to sovereignty, but definitely no to giving up on tens of thousands of settlers by creating isolated enclaves with the establishment of a terrorist state in the heart of Israel.”

Along with part of the Yesha Council, which represents Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, Dagan has lobbied the Israeli government to apply sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and to not commit to the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Critics of the peace plan, like Dagan, have objected to its support for Palestinian statehood, as well as limitations on the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty, with 15 Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria left as isolated enclaves cut off from the rest of Israel.

An additional 25 fledgling towns and hilltop outposts in Judea and Samaria would reportedly be left out of the sovereignty plan altogether, according to some settlement leaders.

“Trump is a great friend of Israel, and you expect friends to understand your needs. I join the call of a growing part of the public urging the Israeli government to obligate itself to apply sovereignty, while still telling our friend overseas that we can’t agree to everything. Netanyahu needs once and for all to decide if this is a nationalist government led by the Likud, or the government of [Labor chief] Amir Peretz. This government is a right-wing government. A right-wing government doesn’t make concessions on the Land of Israel.”