Settlement leaders made a strategic blunder in opposing the Trump administration’s plan for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, Dore Gold said Tuesday, lamenting what he said was a lost opportunity for Israel to secure itself territorially.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Makor Rishon, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and former advisor to prime ministers Netanyahu and Sharon, blasted the Yesha Council (the umbrella organization representing Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria) for its opposition to the Trump plan.
“I thought [their rejection] would be a tragedy for years to come,” said Gold.
Gold, who currently serves as President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and advised the Trump administration in its drafting of its Middle East peace plan, said that Israel “could have secured for future generations a wonderful map that would have protected the country.”
“If someone gives you the opportunity to annex the Jordan Valley, don’t turn up your nose at the offer.”
The former ambassador mused that if Trump had won reelection, Israel would likely now have official diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
“We’d have diplomatic ties with the Saudis. Back during the Second Intifada, the Saudis funded 50-70% of Hamas’ budget. Today that’s down to 0%. Now it is Iran supplying Hamas with the missiles they’re launching. That means that it is our [Israel and Saudi Arabia’s] mutual foe who is responsible for the improvement in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
Regarding the change in administrations in the White House, Gold said that while the Trump administration was the most supportive of Israel on many core issues, the Biden administration’s opposition to the Hague probe of Israel “has been wonderful”.
“President Trump was the friendliest on issues that are important to use: the settlements, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and even the possibility of annexing the Jordan Valley.”
“Biden is coming from a different direction, though he was a hawkish Democrat when he was a senator, and was also a supporter of Israel. His administration’s behavior on the issue of the ICC probe has been wonderful.”
Gold excoriated the International Criminal Court over its decision to probe Israel for alleged “war crimes”, saying that his “blood boils when I see the accusations against Israel claiming that we violated the Fourth Geneva Convention because of the settlements.”
“I know what they don’t do when there are real violations. For instance, in the Syrian civil war, one of the things that happens is they expel Sunni families from their homes. That’s a classic violation of international law, but does the ICC say anything about it?”