Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan left for Washington, DC Saturday night to meet with members of Congress and GOP officials who are close to President Donald Trump, as well as with evangelical leaders he has befriended in recent years. His goal is to present to these allies of the settlements enterprise the red lines of the Jewish settlements which must not be crossed in any future arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Dagan comes to Washington at the same time as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue&White Chairman Benny Gantz, who are expected to hear from President Trump the full outline of his Deal of the Century plan on Monday.
According to Dagan, “The plan is both an important and historical plan. First of all, we should praise US President Donald Trump and especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been leading an important and strategic political line. It is our great achievement that recognizing the settlements of Judea and Samaria on the table in both the US and Israel.”
“However, we should also pay attention to the asterisks and small print,” Dagan cautioned. “We must be careful not to allow the words ‘applying sovereignty’ become a smokescreen that covers our eyes from seeing the true meaning of the Deal of the Century, according to the spirit of those parts of the plan which have already been published. The plan is also rife with danger.”
Dagan claims that the Trump plan would include the establishment of a Palestinian state and the surrender of about 70% of Judea and Samaria.
On Saturday night, the Samaria Regional Council launched a campaign calling on the prime minister to apply sovereignty over all the settlements in Judea and Samaria, to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, and to refuse the settlement blocs plan that would distinguish between Jewish communities inside and outside those blocs.
It is estimated that at least 6,000 Jewish settlers would be cut off from Israel as a consequence of declaring the blocs.
“[Prime Minister] Menachem Begin applied sovereignty over the Golan and [Prime Minister Levi] Eshkol applied sovereignty over liberated Jerusalem without US consent,” Dagan said. “And now that [applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria] is possible, it should be done immediately.”
The new campaign presents the red lines of the settlement enterprise:
“We will not agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“No to distinguishing between communities inside and outside the settlement blocs.
“No to abandoning settlements as enclaves within the territory of a terrorist state, as was done to Netzarim (an Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip about three miles southwest of Gaza City – DI).
“No to transferring Areas C and B and further retreats.”
Samaria Regional Council and its leader, Yossi Dagan, have for years benn cultivating close ties with the Republican Party and with evangelical leaders, many of whom are frequent visitors to Samaria. Dagan himself was active in Trump’s election campaign and was invited to the President’s inauguration ceremony. Now Dagan has been working to leverage those relationships, in order to strengthen the sovereignty movement and to minimize the dangers of the Trump peace plan.
In late October 2017, Yossi Dagan led a three-week protest—which culminated in a hunger strike—outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. The protesters demanded that government approve with no delay funding to improve roads and security for the settlements in Judea and Samaria. On Friday, Nov. 9, 2019, the group held a press conference together with MK David Bitan (Likud) who represented Netanyahu, and announced that their demands had been accepted and that the PM had signed a letter to that effect.