Likud Criticises Yesha Council Head for Urging Party to Back Settlement Bill

Chairman of the Knesset faction of the Likud party, Yariv Levin directed criticism on Thursday night towards the head of the Yesha Council. This happened after he and some other settlement leaders asked the opposition to support the bill for renewing the extension of Israeli criminal law and some areas of civil law to people residing in the West Bank. However, the opposition parties, including Likud, have clearly said that they will not support any legislation backed by the coalition, no matter what the ideology. Gideon Sa’ar, the Justice Minister, has said that there would be a lot of legal consequences for Israelis in the West Bank, if he law is not reapproved.

David Elhayani, the chief of the Yesha Council, sent a letter to the heads of the parties in the opposition. He urged them to think about the status and security of the people in the West Bank that had voted for them. This prompted Levin to accuse him and others who were of the same opinion of trying to save the government of Naftali Bennett. He said that it wasn’t the letter that was the problem, but the damage to the image of the pioneering settlers that they were doing. He went on to add that they were not talking about most of the settlers.

Levin also pointed out that Elhayani had not been in favor of annexing the settlements in the West Bank, something that the Likud party had tried to do when US President Donald Trump was in office. However, the plans had eventually been shelved by the former premier Benjamin Netanyahu as part of the normalization agreement they had signed with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, called the Abraham Records. According to Levin, when they had been making efforts securing the future of the settlements in Samaria and Judea, which would have eliminated the need for legislation, they had done everything to thwart them.

Trump had announced his peace plan in January of 2020. As per the plan, Israel would have annexed the territory of 15 settlements of Israelis and the surrounding land was meant to be left for Palestinians. The plan had been criticized in June 2020 and Elhayani had been one of the settlements leaders who had been vocal about it. However, Elhayani stated that the plan was dangerous for Israel because it set aside land for establishing a Palestinian state.

Levin stated that people don’t see the big picture. He stated that this government was inflicting a lot of damage in every area of life and whether the law is passed or not will not make any difference. The coalition wants to renew the law that had been implemented in 1967 after the Six Day War. The purpose is to implement the some areas of civil law and criminal law to West Bank settlers, or else they will be subjected to military law like the Palestinians. Since the law was passed, it has been renewed after every five years and will expire in June.

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