(January 28, 2020 / Israel Kahana) A senior U.S. official on Monday harshly criticized a letter written by a group of senior rabbis from Israel’s religious Zionist camp to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan carries the risk of “creating a terror state.”
The official said the rabbis “are squandering the moment and don’t understand the immense advantages this plan entails in terms of their worldview. The [Israeli] right will not get anything better than this,” according to Israel Hayom.
The official also addressed claims by some on the Israeli right that the Trump plan will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“If you look at the dictionary, you’ll understand this isn’t the definition of a state. That is not what the plan allows, and so the resistance from the right and the rabbis is a mistake,” the official said.
Among the signatories to the letter were Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon and Rabbi Eliyahu Zini, together with 50 other community rabbis.
The rabbis penned the letter after Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan announced he would depart for Washington to attend a series of emergency meetings with senior Republican officials and evangelical leaders, who comprise Trump’s voter base, to present the settlement enterprise’s red lines and to prevent recognition of a Palestinian state and the isolation of certain settlements within the plan’s framework.
The letter was the brainchild of Dagan and Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, the head of the Association of Communal Rabbis. In the letter, the rabbis wrote that while they “recognize this historic moment for the Jewish people, and sincerely support you [Netanyahu] in applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria … we understand that the plan comes with danger—the establishment of a terror state.”
The rabbis presented their red lines to Netanyahu: “No to the creation of a ‘Palestinian’ state, partitioning the main settlement blocs, abandoning the settlements as an enclave inside a terror state, as happened with the community of Netzarim [in Gaza], and no to the transfer of Areas C to B, and no to additional [territorial] withdrawals.”
Rabbi Eliyahu said with regard to the letter: “We are happy over the significant progress on the matter of applying sovereignty. In no way can [this development] facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state in the holy Land of Israel.”
“On behalf of all the residents of Samaria, I am thankful to our rabbis, who stand at the head of the camp and lead the people of Israel and the State of Israel,” said Dagan. “The rabbis’ sentiment is a moral and principled one. There are red lines that the Israeli public will not cross.”
According to Dagan, “The settlement enterprise won’t sit idly by while its future is being played with. Alongside the joy over the great achievement of applying sovereignty to the communities in Judea and Samaria, we cannot ignore the initiative to surrender 70 percent of the area of Judea and Samaria.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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