By Tovah Lazaroff, JPost—
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to secure US support not to evacuate settlements in any potential peace deal with the Palestinians.
“No settlement or settler will ever be uprooted from here,” Netanyahu said, as he made a campaign stop in the Efrat settlement located in the Gush Etzion region just outside of Jerusalem.
Israel has long held that Eftrat, just like the rest of Gush Etzion, will be part of its final sovereign borders in any final peace deal. The Palestinians hold that Efrat is an integral part of the future of its state.
The Israeli Right holds that all settlements should be part of sovereign Israel, and has urged Netanyahu to annex them in advance of any publication of a Trump administration peace plan.
Netanyahu has made his ability to hold onto the settlement part of his campaign platform.
“Efrat and Gush Etzion are Jerusalem’s southern gateway of Jerusalem. I had the great privilege to build up Judea and Samaria and connect Gush Etzion to Jerusalem.
“I’m committed to this,” he said.
“We have stood against extreme pressures and against an international front that is not easy,” Netanyahu said. “We succeeded because we worked wisely and act wisely.”
To continue to achieve this kind of success, two things are needed, he said.
“Experience, along with a real ability to influence public opinion in the United States.
“That is why we have been able to successfully act… even when the government was against us. One cannot lead the State of Israel, one cannot be prime minister without the real power of American public opinion,” Netanyahu said, adding that, with the ability to influence public opinion and overcome any US opposition, “there will be concessions and there will be submissions.”
The Israeli Left holds that it’s necessary to make such concessions in order to secure international acceptance, the prime minister said.