Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin NetanyahuReuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed back on right-wing criticism of his decision to suspend his sovereignty plan, denying that he had been “bluffing” on his bid to apply Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria.

In an interview with Israel Hayom published early Monday morning, Netanyahu denied suggestions that he had used his plan to apply Israeli law over parts of Judea and Samaria as a ‘card’ in his negotiations with the United Arab Emirates.

Sovereignty “wasn’t a bluff,” said Netanyahu.

“For three years I worked and never gave up on sovereignty. I got it included in President Trump’s peace plan. Under the American plan, Israel gets 30% of Judea and Samaria – ten times what we got in previous plans, and without having to uproot a single town or give up on land important to Israel’s security.”

“That is the American plan. It hasn’t changed. I made it happen.”

The prime minister slammed right-wing critics, including Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan, who had lambasted Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan, only to decry Israel’s agreeing to suspend the plan as part of the peace deal with the UAE.

“People on the Right who opposed the sovereignty plan are now saying ‘Why did you give in?’ It is absurd. It is coming from irrelevant considerations.”

On Sunday, Netanyahu said that he still planned to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, emphasizing that the bid had only been temporarily suspended.

“Sovereignty hasn’t been taken off the agenda. After all, I was the one who had it included in the Trump peace plan, with American agreement. We will apply sovereignty with US approval.”

“It’s not that I had a choice of either applying sovereignty or peace with the United Arab Emirates right now. They [the US] requested a suspension in the application of sovereignty, but they haven’t taken it out of their peace plan.”