Yoni Chetboun with Elisha academy students
Yoni Chetboun with Elisha academy students Courtesy of the Academy

MK Yoni Chetboun, of Eli Yishai's Yachad - Ha'am Itanu that recently formed a joint list with Otzma Yehudit, visited the Elisha pre-military academy located adjacent to Halamish in Samaria on Tuesday morning.

"We have to stop stuttering and start speaking firmly - Judea and Samaria are just like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, there is no difference. This is Israel, and this is also Israel," emphasized Chetboun.

Speaking of his party's intentions, he added "we will continue to act to arrange the legal status of all territories in Judea and Samaria on the way towards sovereignty, because it's ours. No stuttering, no doubts. When we speak like this, the world will speak like this. We have to stand straight, and that's why we're here."

The political left has dictated the tone over the past twenty years since the 1993 Oslo Accords according to Chetboun, who added "we didn't know how to present an alternative to the disaster of two states."

"That's why we established the Yachad party, to make clear to everyone that Halamish, Beit El, Eli, Ofra, Otniel and Hevron are ours, just like Dimona, Ofakim, Tiveria (Tiberias) and Tzfat (Safed)," he said. "We established Yachad because we understand that only if we speak clearly we will prevent Oslo C; instead of responses we'll establish facts."

Referring to the legal battles waged by leftist groups against the Jewish presence in the region, Chetboun said "against every petition we'll act to arrange the status. Judea and Samaria are ours now and forever. When we understand that, everyone will understand that. There is a struggle for this awareness, and we will win."

It remains to be seen exactly what sort of national plan Ha'am Itanu will adhere to vis-a-vis Judea and Samaria; Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett has advocated annexing Area C and giving the Palestinian Authority (PA) a full autonomy in the myriad of blocs comprising Areas A and B, as well as removing all checkpoints from the region.

MK Danny Danon of Likud has for his part spoken about blocs of Egyptian and Jordanian settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with Israel annexing the rest, and various other right-wing politicians have presented different plans.

Otzma Yehudit, whose representative Baruch Marzel is number four on Ha'am Itanu's list, has called to annex all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and transfer out all hostile Arab residents.

During Chetboun's visit, the director of the academy Yoni Konforti said the institution has a great obligation towards Chetboun.

"He's the one who recruited himself for the struggle against anti-Zionist organizations that sought to harm the academy," said Konforti. "He's the one who worked with the Defense Ministry, he's the one who fought courageously in the education committee against the radical left. Largely thanks to him, we've succeeded in arranging the status of the academy. We are full of gratitude and appreciation for this."

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