US President Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” proposal reverses decades of policy by declaring Jewish settlements to not be an obstacle to peace. And it green-lights Israel’s annexation of those communities and the 30 percent of Judea and Samaria where they’re located.
So why are Jewish settlers so opposed to the so-called “deal of the century”?
At an emergency meeting late last week, top settler leaders–including rabbis, security officials and national politicians–discussed what they see as the inherent danger of Trump’s plan, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s endorsement of it.
“The plan is poison wrapped in candy,” declared Adv. Elyakim Haetzni. “The Americans want us to swallow it all together: the dangerous Palestinian state – which is irreversible and has international implications – with Israeli sovereignty, which is reversible by future governments.”
Haetzni went on to echo many of the other participants in insisting that Netanyahu be prevented from “passing” the Trump plan in the Knesset. That could signal a loss of support among one of his key constituencies ahead of next month’s election, just the opposite of what Netanyahu thought would happen following the publication of the deal.
But not everyone was opposed.
Shivi Froman, a religious Jewish settler and human rights activist working to help Palestinian children, said there was nothing in the plan to worry about. A Palestinian state de facto exists already in the areas in which the Trump plan would make it official, he argued. The benefit of accepting that fact in the context of Trump’s plan is that it also officially accepts the fact of the Jewish settlements.