Likud ministers meet with Yesha leaders
Likud ministers meet with Yesha leadersEliran Aharon

Tens of Likud central committee members from 'My Likud' and 'The National Chapter of the Likud' convened a conference attended by ministers and party MK's in advance of Prime Minister Netanyahu's first meeting with President Donald Trump. The conference aimed to convince Netanyahu to present a firm stance regarding the communities in Judea and Samaria.

Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin said that "there is no doubt that our goal in the next four years is not just to broaden construction in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria but to make up for the last eight years.

"We need to construct 6,000 units a year in Jerusalem in the coming years. We want to encourage the Prime Minister to act to broaden construction in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to maintain the ideological principles of the Likud, which 15 years ago decided that it opposes a Palestinian state," said Elkin.

Minister Yariv Levin added that "there must be an historic shift in the way we perceive the settlement movement. This is not an attempt to bypass the Prime Minister but rather to strengthen him.

"The whole construction limitations in Judea and Samaria were wrong, a unique injustice, and a distortion. We have the opportunity to irrevocably change this policy. It's time and we expect the US administration to receive the Prime Minister's message favorably and allow us to renew the basic aspects of life and build in all of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria," said Levin.

Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan stressed that "the fundamental basis for building in all parts of Israel is our moral and religious right. We need to understand that we are not talking to the Jewish nation but to the entire world. We need to speak of our moral right to the land of Israel.

"We have a chance for peace only if the equation changes and the new generation of Palestinians understands that time is working against them. How will they understand this? If we build in all of Judea and Samaria and when all of the Jewish nation knows that Ariel, Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, and lots more places will stay under Israeli sovereignty. So we must establish Israeli sovereignty there and do it now," added Erdan.

Science Minister Ofir Akunis spoke of the public support for these moves, stating that most of the public opposes a Palestinian state and added that this was the first clause in the Likud manifesto and the basis for the Revisionist movement - our right to our land.

"I heard a worrying statement - that there is widespread agreement to build in the blocs. I don't know who agreed to blocs. For me there is only one bloc - the entire land of Israel," concluded Akunis.

Culture Minister Miri Regev stated that "after the last 8 years which were challenging to say the least, we are hearing other tunes from Washington - which show that we have partners and they understand that the problem in the Middle East is not the settlements, despite John Kerry's 80 minute speech claiming this, and a Palestinian state is not the solution. If we would hear about a place in the world where Jews are not allowed to build we would raise an outcry - but we are doing this in our country. Trump's first goal is to restore America to its greatness and our first task is to ensure Israel's security - which means ensuring Judean and Samarian communities."

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samarian regional council, said that "this conference is not designed to weaken the Prime Minister but rather to strengthen him. With all due respect to Netanyahu, we expect him to stand by his promises and the mandate he was chosen for. We expect him to return from this meeting with results and not with explanations."

Yesha Council head Avi Roeh said that natural growth dipped from 5.6% to 3.95% during the period of the Obama administration and added "construction suffered greatly from Obama's criticisms. We want to reach a situation where building in Judea and Samaria will be normal and will not grab headlines," said Roeh.

MK Yoav Kish, head of the Land of Israel caucus, stated that "the Palestinians succeeded in persuading the world that there is an occupation. We must clarify to everyone that this is the land of our forefathers and we have both an historic and legal claim to it. The meeting with President Trump is the first step before building without any apologetics everywhere and should be continued by establishing sovereignty over the entire land of Israel.

credit: אלירן אהרון
credit: אלירן אהרון
credit: אלירן אהרון
credit: אלירן אהרון
credit: אלירן אהרון
credit: אלירן אהרון