Land of Israel Caucus calls on Netanyahu to sanction Palestinian Authority for statehood bid; Likud MK to put annexation bill to vote.
Efforts to annex areas of the West Bank have gained momentum in recent days, as the Knesset Land of Israel caucus and the heads of four factions wrote on Tuesday a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asking him to consider the move and to sanction the Palestinian Authority.
The letter, written by caucus leaders Likud faction chairman Ze'ev Elkin and MK Arye Eldad (National Union), as well as the faction chairmen of Shas, National Union and Habayit Hayehudi said that sanctions will show the PA that "Israel will not agree to be its punching bag."
"Israel will defend its interests, and turn the crisis into an opportunity," the letter reads. "Any diplomatic attack will be turned into a victory."
The Land of Israel Caucus called for a gradual annexation of settled areas in Judea and Samaria, as well as increased building and development of the region. The letter also demanded that any Palestinian construction in Area C be prevented, and that funds no longer be transferred to the PA.
"The Palestinian commitment to avoid unilateral steps is the only thing Israel got in return for all it has given up since the Oslo Accords," the MKs wrote. "The PA's unilateral bid for recognition of statehood in the UN is a clear violation of the agreements, which for the last 18 years cost us a high price."
The letter also explains that any country that cooperates with the PA in its statehood bid may no longer serve as a mediator in future peace talks.
If Netanyahu does not take such steps, the MKs wrote, he will "encourage the Palestinians to continue acting against [Israel] in the international arena."
"The international damage to Israel from the UN vote is much smaller than the damage Israel may inflict on itself if we do not follow the principle of 'if they give, they will get, if they don't give, they will not get,'" the letter reads, referring to a well-known quote from Netanyahu's first term as prime minister. "This principle has saved Israel from deteriorating into the abyss opened by the engineers of the Oslo Accords."