Speaking at a controversial ceremony marking 50 years since Israel began settling Jews in the West Bank, the Jordan Rift Valley and the Golan Heights, Netanyahu made an ambitious vow never to evacuate a single settlement again.
Left wing activists protest settlements during the ceremony
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday that no West Bank settlement will ever be evacuated again. He made this announcement during a controversial ceremony in Gush Etzion marking 50 years of settlements.
“The settlements are as important to me as they are to you,” Netanyahu told the crowd, “which is why I’m saying this clearly – there will never be an evacuation of settlements again in the Land of Israel.”
“We never got peace by uprooting settlements, we got terrorism and missiles instead,” he added, alluding to the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip. “We will never repeat that. It was merely a promo for what is happening in the Middle East. Every territory that falls into the hands of radical Islam becomes a territory of death.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the chairman of the right-wing HaBayit Hayehudi party, called for an Israeli annexation of Area C of the West Bank.
“This is the time to apply sovereignty over our very good land,” he said. “There’s no better time to do so than right now.”
Supreme Court President Miriam Naor Photo credit: Flash 90/Channel 2 News
The ceremony was held amid a quarrel between Israel’s government and its Supreme Court. Just hours before the ceremony, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a letter to Miriam Naor, the court’s president, scolding her decision to cancel the participation of Justices in the event due to its political sensitivity.