Yisrael Beiteinu leader and potential post-election kingpin Avigdor Lieberman is seeking settler votes with hints of support for the annexation of West Bank territory, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Yesterday, Lieberman took his election campaign to Ma’ale Adumim, a major Israeli settlement in the central occupied West Bank outside of Jerusalem.
Speaking at a public campaign event, Lieberman declared: “I am sure that in the next term [of the government], we will also be able to apply Israeli sovereignty.”
As noted by the Jerusalem Post, it was only two years ago that Lieberman “spoke of the danger of getting ahead of the Trump administration by unilaterally annexing some or all of the West Bank.”
In addition, although Lieberman has made it clear that he sees Israel holding on to so-called settlement “blocs” – such as Ma’ale Adumim – forever, the right-wing former minister has thus far said any such steps “should be done within the context of a regional peace plan”.
According to the paper, Lieberman’s remarks in Ma’ale Adumim yesterday is part of an effort to “grab centrist pro-settler votes” from Likud – which got 50 per cent of the settlement’s vote in April – and from Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) – which attracted ten per cent.
While Lieberman does himself live in an illegal West Bank settlement – Nokdim – in the last election Yisrael Beiteinu only received 3,498 votes from settlers in the occupied West Bank last time round.
Lieberman did best in major settlement Ariel, in the northern West Bank, where he received 1,425 votes in a city whose population includes a large number of Israelis whose families hail from the former Soviet Union – a traditional base for Yisrael Beiteinu.
The party did second-best in Ma’ale Adumim with 961 votes, and so, the Jerusalem Post noted, if Lieberman is “going to up his game”, the central West Bank settlement “is one of the key places where he can drum up support, taking votes primarily from Likud and Blue and White”.