Netanyahu's Likud party votes unanimously for sovereignty in Judea and Samaria
January 19, 2018
In a victory for the Israeli right, over 1,000 members of the Likud party’s Central Committee called unanimously Sunday evening for its representatives in government to formally annex parts of Judea and Samaria and allow unlimited construction in the Jewish communities.
The resolution reads: “Fifty years after the liberation of Judea and Samaria, and with them Jerusalem, our eternal capital, the Likud Central Committee calls on Likud’s elected leaders to work to allow unhindered construction and to extend Israeli law and sovereignty in all the areas of liberated settlement in Judea and Samaria.”
Not legally binding, but significant
The draft resolution was put forward by Shevach Stern of the nationalist camp, who reminded the crowd that “this is not a legally binding resolution, but it binds our government morally and politically.”
He also made a point of saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—who was not present—had already said 15 years ago that “there will be no Palestinian state west of the Jordan River.” He was referring to the 2002 Likud convention, when a resolution was passed against the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
Although conspicuous by his absence, Netanyahu was mentioned positively by members of his cabinet, including Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection. He noted that the meeting was not taking place against the prime minister’s will, insisting that Netanyahu has been outspokenabout his views that all of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
‘This is our best chance’
At the event, which lasted for over three hours, almost every speaker mentioned US President Donald Trump and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Some merely thanked him, while others, such as Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, marked it as a potential jumping-off point. He declared, “Now it’s up to us... Will it be only Jerusalem, or also Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, etc.?”
Benny Kashriel, mayor of Maale Adumim, a city just east of the capital, stated firmly that “this is our best chance, with America behind us, and other countries growing closer. We have to bring the vote over sovereignty...to the Knesset.”
The need to turn words into action was made by several committee members. “What happens after the vote?” asked Central Committee member Ze’ev Ben Yosef. “Will we really build everywhere? We must convince everyone we can, so this will actually be carried out.”
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely received an especially fervent round of applause as she held up a rubber bracelet she received that evening with the words “The Likud is for Sovereignty” in Hebrew. “This blue bracelet is the correction for the orange bracelet of Gush Katif [against the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005]. There will be no more evacuations,” she stated. “Tonight we are making history.”
‘Sovereignty is our right’
Gidon Sa’ar, previous number two in the party, and several others reminded the audience that under late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Knesset passed the Basic Law on Jerusalem in 1980, which stated that the city would remain the “complete and united capital of Israel,” and applied sovereignty to the Golan Heights in 1981. Now is the time to strengthen the Jewish state’s hold over all parts of the land and to prevent the destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, they said.
Speaker after speaker noted the historic character of the meeting and the need to end, in Edelstein’s words, the “unbearable situation” according to which residents of Judea and Samaria are treated as second-class citizens, having all the obligations (i.e. paying taxes, serving in the army) but none of the rights (to build, for example) that those living in the pre-1967 borders enjoy. Over and over, the words “Sovereignty is our right” were heard.
It therefore came as no surprise when Minister of Welfare and Social Services Haim Katz, who chairs the Committee, announced the result of the vote—zero against, zero abstentions, and 100 percent in favor of sovereignty.