Why all Settlers should Celebrate the UAE Deal
Right of center MK Naftali Bennett initially welcomed the Trump-brokered UAE deal, But then he claimed that Netanyahu “missed a once-in-a-century opportunity” to annex large parts of Judea and Samaria.
The chairman of the Yesha (Judea-Samaria) umbrella council of settlement mayors blasted the PM as well saying that Netanyahu “betrayed” all Israelis living beyond post 1967 Israel.
Bennett’s fellow party member MK Bezalel Smotrich also laid into Netanyahu for “the revival of the two-state discourse,” and dismissed the deal as insignificant, since Israel was never even at war with the Emirates.
Prior Peace treaties
To his credit, Smotrich is right. Israel was never at war with the UAE. But they weren’t at war with Jordan when they signed the 1994 peace treaty either. But that didn’t stop Israel from acquiescing territorial concessions to the Hashemite Kingdom.
Israel agreed to recognize Jordan’s sovereignty over the Naharayim/Baqura area which included withdrawing from the ‘Island of Peace’ as well as the Tzofar area. Amman was also granted a central role as a custodian for several holy sites in Jerusalem, most notably – the Temple Mount. That’s where the Jordanian Wakf guards were paid by Amman to harass and assault Jewish pilgrims. And although the Jewish state was suffering from a drought, Israel agreed to give Jordan 50,000,000 cubic metres of water every year.
Peace with Egypt, as we all know, required Israel to give up the Sinai, a peninsula larger than the Jewish state itself. That land was ripe with oil, natural beauty and much needed land for Israeli military installations.
What Israelis believe about peace
And so, with help from Israel’s left-leaning media, the vast majority of Israelis were convinced that peace with any Arab entity required territorial concessions. This includes the ‘Palestinians’.
But the latest UAE changed all that. That’s because (until now) the accord with Dubai required no territorial concessions. Not an inch of land was promised to Emirates in exchange for normalization. This is unprecedented and Netanyahu realizes it which is why he’s calling the deal ‘peace for peace’ instead of the philosophy Israelis are more familiar with: ‘land for peace’.
Isn’t giving up annexation a ‘land concession’?
Now at this point you may be asking yourself – OK, but what about sovereignty? Couldn’t that be considered a territorial concession? Maybe, but the truth is that avoiding the Deal of the Century is a blessing in disguise. That’s because Bibi and Kushner’s annexation plan would turn many Jewish settlements into deadly enclaves surrounded by a Palestinian state. This places them in greater danger than they are now. Plus, the Deal of the Century requires a Palestinian state inside Jerusalem as well as access for Muslims worldwide to pray on the Temple Mount. So yes, the settlers truly dodged a bullet here.
The bottom line
But most importantly, the next time Bibi revives his Annexation Plan, he can no longer claim that land concessions to the Palestinians will be required. At that point, we settlers can point to his own deal with the UAE and remind him that territorial concessions don’t need to be made for peace. The precedent was set by Netanyahu himself. Now the only question is – Will the settlers capitalize on it? Or accept a Palestinian state so that residents of Maaleh Adumim won’t need permission from the military to cover their porch?
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