David Elhayani excoriates PM Netanyahu for suspending sovereignty. ‘This is not the same prime minister. He has lost it.’
Yesha Council chairman David Elhayani and head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, spoke to Benny Teitelbaum on Kan Moreshet about the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the consequent decision to suspend the application of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
Elhayani said that he had “mixed feelings” over the peace agreement and its cost. “On the one hand, any agreement and normalization with an Arab state is good for the State of Israel. On the other hand, creating correlation between normalization with such a distant state and not applying sovereignty is, in my opinion, a very dangerous precedent for the future.”
“I am personally very disappointed with the prime minister. I think he has lost it,” Elhayani declared. “To give up a historic opportunity to apply Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the settlements, which has been at the heart of the security consensus for years that the eastern border of Israel must be strengthened, to give that up just for normalization? I think the prime minister has lost it. This is not the same prime minister. I would have expected him to act like Menachem Begin and bring Israeli sovereignty to the Knesset and the government. Only the State of Israel will decide about this, not the Americans, not the French, and not the Italians. We do not have to wait for anyone.”
When asked about the declarations from Netanyahu and others in the Likud that sovereignty is still on the table, Elhayani said: “Unfortunately, I do not believe him. He had a chance for a year. On September 10, a year ago, he convened a dramatic press conference in which he announced that he was going to apply Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. Even then it was a trick because he did not mean it. He had no intention to do it for a long time, and now that an opportunity had arisen, to have an American president [support it], I would expect him to come and say [to Trump]: ‘Sir, don’t get me wrong. We are good friends, but the one who will determine what Israel’s borders will be, what the security interests of the State of Israel are, what needs to happen in this territory, is the State of Israel alone. I am going to declare sovereignty.’ This is what I would expect from a leader who shows courage. He does not have it. He has lost it.”
When asked who he would vote for in the next election, Elhayani called on Netanyahu to step down to make room for new leadership. “I am a Likudnik. The things that I say now are difficult for me to say. In the end he is my prime minister and I am a member of the Likud going back 20 years. I will continue to vote for the Likud, but I am full of disappointment. I call on the Prime Minister – Mr. Prime Minister, you have lost it, take your place. There are good people in the Likud who will lead us and they have courage enough to apply sovereignty after so many years.”