Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The Samaria Regional Council has decided to confer honorary citizenship on Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer, for his contribution toward the development of Samaria. Peace Now’s court petitions led to regularization of the unlawful construction of settlements in Samaria, the biblical name for the northern section of the West Bank, according to the council.

In part, in the wake of petitions filed by leftist organizations and Palestinians, Israel has authorized construction in Bruchin and Kiryat Netafim, after long years in which such permission remained on the back burner. In a cynical gesture, the Samaria council elected to confer honorary citizenship upon Oppenheimer and upon the attorney who represented Peace Now in the court petitions, Michael Sfard.

The honorary citizenship was awarded in recognition of Oppenheimer’s “documentation of the development and construction of the settlement enterprise on behalf of the generations to come – all paid for by funding from European countries.”

The certificate reads: “The plenum of the Samaria Regional Council hereby grants citizenship to Mr. Yariv Oppenheimer, secretary-general of Peace Now: in recognition of and esteem for your activities, which led to the expansion and population of Samaria in particular and Judea and Samaria in general. For your activities that led to media coverage of the blessed expansion, quality of life and beauty of our settlements. For the court petitions that led to the authorization of neighborhoods and settlements following years of travails. For meticulous documentation and publicity of the joyous development and expansion of the settlements and the raising of morale and the happiness of those who love Israel and the entire people of Israel – and for the execution of all this blessed activity at the expense of taxpayers of hostile countries from Europe, and without stealing a single agora from the Israeli taxpayer.”

Aside from the symbolic show of esteem, an honorary citizen of Samaria is entitled to discounts and benefits related to the council’s services.

Oppenheimer offered this response on his Facebook page: “The bouquet must go to Netanyahu, not me. It is he who is channeling hundreds of millions of shekels to public construction in the settlements and the outposts, he who is building two new settlements for the settlers of Migron, he who is prepared to raise taxes and impose decrees solely to pay for a university in Ariel, he who sees to it that no matter how bad it is in Israel – the settlers will always remain satisfied.”