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Israelis in Negev protest Trump plan's proposed land swaps

Palestinians stage a protest against so-called "Deal of the Century" announced by US President Donald Trump, in Haifa, Israel on 28 January 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians stage a protest against so-called "Deal of the Century" announced by US President Donald Trump, in Haifa on 28 January 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israelis living in locations near to territory that would become part of the Palestinian self-governing entity envisaged by the Trump administration's "peace plan" yesterday criticised the proposal.

Ramat HaNegev Regional Council head Eran Doron was "shocked" to discover that the US plan includes "the transfer of lands near which 200 families live mainly off agricultural crops".

"When they presented the map, I spotted some of my area of jurisdiction got taken away," said Doron, in remarks reported by Ynet. "No one spoke to me, neither before, nor after. Maybe now that the celebrations in Washington are over some will talk to me."

"We say it simply – with all due respect to the preservation of the Jewish settlement in the West Bank, not at the expanse of the Jewish settlement in the Negev."

Doron also wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing his unhappiness with the plan.

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"Unfortunately, I learned yesterday evening that in order to preserve Jewish settlement in the West Bank, you are willing to give up on the Jewish settlement in the Negev," read Doron's letter.

"I invite you to come and get an impression of the pioneering Zionist settlement here before you agree to hand it over. I expect you to commit to protecting the Jewish settlement in the Negev at least as much as you are committed to protecting the Jewish settlement in the West Bank."

Another southern resident, part of a settlement relocated from the Sinai, told Ynet: "The first thing we looked for was a place where we can establish a community knowing that it is within Israeli territory and we won't get evacuated again. We were proven wrong, however."

"This plan wants to turn us into an enclave within a different country."

The resident continued: "Instead of further developing this area – they want to hand it over to the Gazans. Everybody knows what will follow after…there's no chance for the area to develop if they handed it over and turn it into an enclave in 'the state of Hamas-tan'."

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