Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, vowed there will be no demolitions of communities on his watch — whether Jewish or Arab.
“No communities will be uprooted. Not those of Jews, and by the way, not those of Arabs either. We don’t uproot people,” Netanyahu said at an event in the settlement of Revava.
“We’re through with that nonsense,” the premier added. “Israel under my leadership hasn’t returned and won’t return to the mistakes of the past.”
His comments came as his government has repeatedly delayed the demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank, a delay that has been been met with heavy criticism on the right.
The Supreme Court green-lighted the razing of Khan al-Ahmar, which was built without necessary permits, but amid international pressure the government has put off carrying out that ruling since it was handed down last year.
In May, the government said it would put off the demolition until a new government was formed following national elections in April. As fresh elections were called for September after Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition, the razing of the central West Bank hamlet is not likely to happen until the end of the year at the earliest.
The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar has been a key concern for many settlers as well as others in the broader Israeli right, who have criticized the government for carrying out demolitions at the Netiv Ha’avot and Amona outposts while allowing the Palestinian community to remain standing.
Netanyahu also pledged Wednesday not to evacuate even the remotest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, in a message to settlers ahead of the upcoming general elections.
“We shall not allow the dismantling of any settlement in any peace plan,” Netanyahu said, apparently referring to the Trump administration’s long-awaited proposal.
“I also make no distinction between the settlement blocs and isolated settlement sites,” he added. “Every such spot is Israeli from my point of view.”
The White House has said it will release its peace plan after the Knesset elections, but it has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders, who say US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and other moves show him to be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. Many in the international community consider the settlements there a major obstacle to peace, since they are located on land the Palestinians claim as part of their future state.
The settlers are a major source of support for Netanyahu’s right-wing government and his bid for reelection.