David Elhayani
David Elhayani Penny Elimeleh

A top settlement leader fired back at the Likud Thursday, doubling down on his criticism of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan.

In an interview with Galei Tzahal Thursday, David Elhayani, the chief of the Jordan Valley Regional Council who also serves as the chairman of the Yesha Council – the umbrella group representing Israelis living in Judea and Samaria – reiterated his concerns regarding the US peace plan, warning it could leave Israel vulnerable to an ‘existential threat’, and compared the offer for Israel to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria in exchange for final status talks with the Palestinian Authority to being threatened ‘with a gun to the head’ while being ‘offered cake’.

“If someone comes to me with a cake while holding a gun to my head will I just take some cake and then say goodbye?” Elhayani said. “My duty is to save us from the existential threats.”

A day earlier, Elhayani came under fire for his comments on the Trump administration, including his claim that the Trump Administration “does not have Israel’s security and settlement interests in mind" and that “the only thing they’re concerned about regarding the plan is promoting their own interests ahead of the upcoming election.”

President Trump and Jared Kushner, continued Elhayani Wednesday, “are not friends of the State of Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu chastised Elhayani for his comments, defending the Trump administration’s record vis-à-vis Israel.

On Thursday, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) – who is part of the joint Israeli-American committee mapping the boundaries of the sovereignty plan for Judea and Samaria – excoriated Elhayani, saying: “David Elhayani’s outrageous and irresponsible comments about the American president deserve to be completely rejected and criticized. With all due respect to the head of the Yesha Council, he should be thanking President Trump for his great work which has benefited the State of Israel and the settlement movement.”

Elhayani fired back Thursday, accusing him of laying the groundwork for a future Palestinian state and evacuation of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

“Yariv Levin would be better off dropping his snake skin and looking the Likud voters in the eyes and admitting that he is responsible for drawing up the map for the evacuations and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”