'Stop trying to intimidate us on annexation'

Land of Israel Lobby hits back at Liberman claims Trump administration warned Israel against annexation.

Hezki Baruch ,

MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel Smotrich

The Land of Israel Lobby ripped Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday, blasting a warning against annexation the minister issued Monday morning.

Liberman claimed that the Trump administration had issued a “direct message” to Israel, threatening to cut off ties should the Jewish state extend sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

"Anyone who wants to apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria needs to understand that such a step will bring immediate repercussions from the new US government."

"We received a direct - not indirect - message: 'Apply sovereignty and you will be cutting ties with the new government.' The coalition must explain, once and for all, that we will not apply sovereignty. Anyone who wants a crisis and who has 20 billion NIS to spare is welcome to apply sovereignty.”

Critics, however, were quick to respond, decrying Liberman’s comments as “scare-mongering” and “intimidation”.

“You need to stop this scare-mongering campaign against sovereignty,” said Land of Israel Lobby members Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Yoav Kish (Likud).

“One cannot be an ‘occupier’ in their own land, so what we’re talking about isn’t ‘annexation’, but extension of sovereignty in our land. We will continue in the footsteps of the Zionist leaders who extended sovereignty over parts of our land in 1948, 1967, and 1981,” said the MKs, referencing the establishment of the State of Israel, the annexation of eastern Jerusalem after the Six Day War, and the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights in 1981.

“Now the time has come for the next step: We will promote a law extending sovereignty over Maaleh Adumim, and it will receive majority support both in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and in the Knesset plenum.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) also castigated Liberman over what she called his attempts at “intimidation”.

“Minister Liberman is attempting to create a reality that does not exist yet in Washington. The political dialogue with the Americans hasn’t started yet, the current administration hasn’t put together any strategic plan for the region yet. The American government is open to considering new policies and all of the options are still on the table.”