Although the situation in Ukraine has grabbed headlines in recent days, President Barack Obama made it clear to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at their meeting this week that the negotiation framework created by Secretary of State John Kerry is still very much on the agenda. Negotiations are still going on between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, supervised by the U.S. – and that worries Elyakim Ha’etzni, a veteran leader of the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Ha’etzni said that “the bitter truth” was that Netanyahu had already decided to give in and accept most of the dictates of the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority.
“Netanyahu has agreed to conduct negotiations on the basis of the 1948 armistice lines with some land swaps. There will be a building freeze in Judea and Samaria outside the settlement blocs. He has also surrendered on the issue of an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, except for a few guard posts on the Jordan River,” Ha’etzni said.
The media has been exceptionally quiet about what Netanyahu has already admitted agreeing to, Ha’etzni said. “It’s as if they are using a sleeping pill to keep us calm,” he said, but the sleeping pill was going to be wearing off very soon. “Netanyahu will soon announced that not one resident of Judea and Samaria will have to leave their homes, but that announcement will come with one small detail – they will have to live under Palestinian sovereignty.”
The Palestinians, in the end, are likely to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Ha’etzni said. “In the end we will be witness to how our country was sold for the price of a ‘stew’ of words, in which the Palestinians mumble that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a recognition that will have no political effect whatsoever.”
The big question, Ha’etzni said, is what Israeli politicians plan on doing about the impending deal. “Will MKs on the right play the game, or will they see the deal as the end of the government? And the even bigger question: Will Naftali Bennett make it clear to Netanyahu that a building freeze even in the ‘isolated’ settlements in Binyamin will result in Jewish Home’s withdrawing from the coalition?”
Ha’etzni, an attorney, was involved in the re-establishment of the communities of Gush Etzion Bloc and a Jewish community in Hevron. He was a member of the Yesha Council‘s Steering Committee, and was a former MK for the Tehiya party.