Likud Lobby for Full Annexation of the West Bank
Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank is facing many obstacles from within the US administration and Israeli government, however, a Likud lobby is pressuring for full annexation.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan is leading the initiative for fully annexing the lands under Israeli sovereignty as he has previously supported the plan of US President Donald Trump, including the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and 70 percent of the West Bank.
Dagan has threatened to withdraw his support if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abandons his plans to annex the Jordan Valley and northern West Bank.
He announced that a large group of the settlers has agreed to a compromise out of respect for Trump, however, if there are advisors in Washington who are pressuring Israel to limit itself to a symbolic annexation and the government accepts it, they will demand a full annexation.
Dagan stressed that this is not directed at Netanyahu, but rather to help him withstand the pressure. He explained that the US administration is asking the PM for a unified position with the Blue and White party on the size of the annexation.
Journalist Jacob Bardugo said Netanyahu should be worried about this move because it could lead to the emergence of strong political leadership that could succeed him.
The settlers are also supported by Likud Central Committee head Haim Katz, who is an important figure of the party and enjoys large support among the far-right.
Katz confirmed that he would soon invite his council to take the necessary decisions, stressing that it was not against the Prime Minister, but rather to help him.
Member of Knesset Ariel Kallner, who is a settler as well, supports the calls for full annexation, warning the Jordanian leadership against objecting the plans.
Kallner was responding to an earlier statement of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Daifallah Fayez where he denounced the Israeli excavations at the Temple Mount.
Settler Kallner also indicated that the Temple Mount and the West Bank are Israeli lands, adding that Jordan should be concerned with its sovereignty over its land.
Earlier, Netanyahu announced that negotiations are still ongoing with the US administration over the implementation of the annexation plan.
The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, reported a source familiar with the discussions as saying that the White House peace team is expected to further discuss the plans with the participation of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz, and National Security Council Member Scott Leith.
He said that the Israeli government’s plan to impose its sovereignty on areas in the West Bank is still possible in the current month of July.
Meanwhile, Israel’s newly appointed UN representative, Gilad Erdan, said the international opposition of the annexation plans should not be underestimated, noting that he will explain the importance of this step for Israel’s interests.
Erdan indicated, in a radio interview, that Israel’s unilateral withdrawals from the Gaza Strip did not lead to peace, and that the only thing that will ensure its presence would be the establishment of borders.