In an extended interview with the Israeli i24News Arabic channel, Jewish settler leader Daniella Weiss says that Palestinians have no right to establish a state, and that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people as proclaimed by the ‘eternal words of the Bible’.
Weiss also expresses her disappointment with the UAE for demanding that the annexation plan for parts of the West Bank be frozen in exchange for Emirati peace with Israel. Weiss wondered, “I don’t understand why for peace, we, the settlers in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), are expected to stop developing ourselves!”
Source: i24NEWS Arabic (YouTube)
Date: Sep 4, 2020
Welcome, dear viewers, to a new episode of “Hadith Akhar”.
Her settlement activity in the West Bank began in the early 1970s. She was the secretary general of the most hardline settlement movement. She was imprisoned for rioting in the West Bank. In past years she has also been active in a movement that supports the establishment of illegal settlement outposts.
We talk to Daniella Weiss in “Hadith Akhar”.
Daniella Weiss was born in Bnei Brak, just east of Tel Aviv in 1945. During the period 1984-1988, she was the General Secretary of the Gush Emunim settlement movement. In 1987, she was arrested and convicted with respect to rioting in the city of Qalqilya (located in the north of the West Bank). During the period 1996-2007, she was elected head of the local council of the Kedumim settlement, just near Qalqilya. In 1992, she failed to reach the Knesset on a ticket supported by settlers.
Welcome Ms. Daniella. Let us start from the latest developments in the (Israeli) political arena.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze the annexation plan (to annex the West Bank, or parts thereof, to Israel territory) in exchange for establishing ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). First, how do you view this step by Netanyahu?
Greetings. I think that this step is a big mistake on the part of our Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the development of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the Israeli government term for the West Bank). But, I’m not sure that he specifically said that he will “freeze” (the annexation plan), I think he said that he will ‘stop the process of annexation of declaring Israeli law on the Jewish community (in that region). But if you’re telling me that it’s even worse (than this), then I’ll be disappointed with him, since (Netanyahu) is a great leader and I, as a member of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria, always expect more from him.
This is a controversial topic (cancelation of annexation plan); Netanyahu says that he “halted” or “froze” (the annexation plan). In contrast, the Emirati state says that this plan is “canceled and is now off the table” in exchange for ties with the UAE. So, was it peace in exchange for (cancelling) this Israeli (annexation) plan?
I must say that I am very much disappointed also from the Emirati side, that they demand stopping the annexation or the development of the Jewish community (in exchange) for peace. Well, I was planning to show you what is the stage of (sic) – these black spots (on the map) show what is planned for the Palestinian state, and the white color refers to Jewish settlement. This means that the Israeli state is threatened by a Palestinian state which doesn’t express love or support for the Jewish state.
For this reason, I don’t understand why for peace, we, the settlers in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), we are expected to stop developing ourselves. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t sound like a step towards peace, it sounds like leaving us, the settlers in Judea and Samaria, and leaving the state of Israel with a narrow strip (of land), if they were (indeed) to take off part of this land for the sake of a Palestinian state.
This is (most) unreasonable. And I am looking forward to seeing how (Netanyahu) sees this peace agreement, because there doesn’t seem to me much peace in this agreement. It seems to be an intersection of interests, which is good for the Emirates, good for the US, but not good for Israel.
Yet peace (between Israel) and the Arabs, and several Arab states, considering that many of (these states) had mutual enmity with Israel, isn’t Israel’s sense of security and safety in relation to neighbouring Arab states, isn’t this worth giving up the annexation plan and settlement expansion in the West Bank?
I think I am trying to explain. There is a reason to give away the annexation (plan). But there is a map which shows that the narrow waist of the Israeli state is an impossible situation for (Israel) to live long with. I think we should be more careful, since some say that the Sinai Peninsula that was given to the Egyptians poses some threat to Israel. But (for me) it is livable. Certain parts from the borders that were given to Jordan were small. Gaza was a catastrophe, but we can live with it. But can we live without our heart? The center of our homeland? This makes no sense. I know there is a high level of celebration but I am not celebrating. I am warning. I warn if the condition was to stop Jewish life in the heart of our homeland for what is defined as a peace, then this is not a peace.
Yet you had your own stance in relation to the annexation plan. When this plan was proposed and put into implementation, it faced opposition due to ideological reasons that considered (the plan) destructive for the Israeli state and for the settlement project. On the other hand, the world and the majority of the world view it as being destructive for the two-state solution. What threatens this plan? What threatens your (settlement) project in this regard?
You did very good homework. Not many people in Israel know exactly what the stance of some settlers was. It is correct that I was in the settler camp which was very much against the annexation plan which went by the plan which is called the “Trump Plan” or the “Deal of the Century”. Why was I against it? Because it was directly connected with building a Palestinian (home) state, and here it’s not just about giving 30% (of the area) for the settlers and the rest is for the Palestinians. It was a formal recognition that gives the possibility for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of the homeland of the Jews. Why would I agree with it? Do you know why some did agree with it? Because we were under so much stress – I mean we the settlers – for so many years, with the freezing (of the settlements) in Obama’s time, in addition to the redlines even during Trump’s term.
So some people were thinking that there will be (positive) change; that we (as settlers in certain outposts) will become considered a part of the Israeli state, and that this will be in our favor. Usually, I see life in its positive fold. This time though, I saw that Trump, Kushner, and their team pledged that 70% of this area be for a Palestinian state that will be established. I believe that this is impossible. There is a Palestinian Authority that has the democratic ability to run life for Palestinians in a democratic way, but not through an independent state.
You oppose Trump’s Deal of the Century; don’t you feel concerned that you will lose such an American ally who backs Israel? Don’t you fear that Israel and the settlers may lose this supportive friend of Israel?
Mohammad, you are asking me this question on the day of the first ever flight from Israel to Abu Dhabi into the Emirates. It’s not just about this tiny thing, i.e. what is going to happen in Judea and Samaria. It is a global interest. More than Israel needs the US, the US needs Israel. Because it is a global interest. It is the ongoing struggle between Russia and US; it’s about natural resources; about oil; about the world fight against terror; about the Iran threat; about the conflict between Iran (on the one hand), and Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and the US (on the other). It is a global thing.
I was planning to to tell (Netanyahu), who’s going to deliver an address in 20 minutes, that he shouldn’t be afraid of the US. Trump is an ally of Israel. And since the (US) has (shared) interests with Israel and interests in the Middle East, (Netanyahu) knows well that the US can rely on Israel (which serves its interests). It is time for Netanyahu to demand from Trump the growth of the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria, and not the freezing of such construction. We must be brave and not bow down. (Netanyahu) is a brave man, but the freezing (of settlement construction) in Judea and Samaria is not a brave step from him.
You are against the establishment of a Palestinian state and the freezing of settlement construction in the West Bank as well. If we want to talk about the borders of the state of Israel as far as you’re concerned, where do the borders of the state of Israel extend to? You have shown your map (to the viewers), kindly show us the Israeli state borders (on your map), as far as you’re concerned.
From the political point of view, the state of Israel, in the current political situation, is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including the entire Golan Heights, the Galilee and the Golan (regions). Regarding the Jewish religion and its creed, we can (then) speak the language of the religion and creed; we have the ‘promised land’ from the Bible. The Middle East in WWI and WWII was different from now. Some day, according to the Bible, a change may occur in this land. But in this current political situation, (Israeli) borders are between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
What about the Palestinians for whom you deny the right of statehood? Where should they go? Is the solution, as you use to say, to encourage (the Palestinians) to migrate?
Let’s start from the first part of your question. The Palestinians have the ‘Palestinian Authority’. This authority has the right to have its own democratic elections; it has the right to have its own institutions and departments; however, it is not a state of its own. The only state in Israel is Israel. This is its name, Israel, coming from our forefathers. So there’s no option to build another state within France or the United Kingdom, just as there is no option to establish another state within Israel. Israel is for the Jews. ‘Israel’, meaning Jacob, this is the beginning of our nation.
Today, what will happen? (The Palestinians) have an Authority, they have independent lives, but they have no ability to vote for the Knesset. They can vote for their own institutions, not as (institutions) of a state, but rather institutions belonging to the (Palestinian) Authority.
However, more than 5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Don’t they have the right to have an independent state in which they can live?
I think that – and we will not debate now whether there are four or five million (Palestinians), four million is still a good number – let’s continue from this point: the fact that the Jewish state was established, and even before this, the fact that the Jewish pioneers came from all over the world and began to revive the holy land of Israel once again, which was a desolate country at the end of the Ottoman Empire.
Then it attracted – and this is a well-known fact – it attracted many Arabs, Bedouins, tribes, from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, they all came to the land of Israel, and this is how (this land) was developed. It was the result of the Jews who came to this land; the new cities and towns that were established by Jewish pioneers, who revived the desolate land, and made it an attractive place for people all over the Middle East.
That does not mean that we – that the Jews – have to give up and say: ‘well, we have to share the only state that the Jews have in the world, to share it with another country’. They should have taken this into consideration, and we said it at the appropriate time, that we will never divide up our homeland in Israel (with other people). By the way, and here I made a mistake: there was a partition plan in 1947, and the Jewish leadership did agree (to it), to share the western part of the land of Israel. This proposal was rejected by the Arabs, and I (personally) was not in support of this proposal either.