A newly-appointed leader of Israel’s settler population in the occupied West Bank has vowed to work to secure annexation of most of the territory, reported the Jerusalem Post.
David ElHayani was chosen to head the Yesha council, having served as head of the regional council of Jordan Valley-based settlements for the past 11 years.
“The residents of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and the Jordan Valley are [Israeli] citizens in every way. We will work together, all of us, to apply sovereignty over all of Area C and the Jordan Valley in Judea and Samaria,” ElHayani said after being appointed.
According to the report, “ElHanyani also took the opportunity to call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz to form a unity government.”
Netanyahu, for his part, “called ElHayani to congratulate him”, and promised to work together to boost settlements in the occupied West Bank.
All settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.
The outgoing Yesha council head, Hananel Durani, said “he was certain that ElHayani would be successful in the pursuit of sovereignty [annexation] and in more than doubling the size of the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria so that it reaches 1,000,000 Jews.”
Meanwhile, Likud MK Sharren Haskel has submitted a draft bill that calls for the eastern side of the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank to be formally annexed.
According to reports, the proposal “would permit Palestinian residents in the territory to apply for Israeli citizenship within ten years of its implementation, provided they were not charged in the past with any security offenses and have not publicly called for a boycott against Israel.”
“There is a wide consensus today about the region, following the long-awaited US president’s recognition of the Golan Heights as under Israeli sovereignty. It is time to do the same with the Jordan Valley,” Haskel said.
On Sunday, New Right MK Ayelet Shaked proposed a similar bill, focusing on a number of major settlements in the West Bank.