Dozens Protest Bennett’s First Settlement Visit Since Becoming Prime Minister

Right-wing protesters at the West Bank settlement of Elkana accused Bennett of 'selling Elkana to the Arabs,' a week after Israel authorized 500 new housing units for settlers there

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
Protestors at the settlement of Elkana during a visit by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday.
Protestors at the settlement of Elkana during a visit by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday.
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Dozens of settlers staged protests on Tuesday in the settlement of Elkana, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the West Bank in his first trip to a settlement since taking office.

The protesters held up signs calling the prime minister “traitor” and “swindler” and chanted, “Bennett, don’t sell Elkana to the Arabs” and “Elkana wants a new government.”

Elkana Council head Asaf Mintzer said the visit, which was held to mark the 45th anniversary of the settlement’s founding, came at the initiative of the Prime Minister’s Office.

“It’s no secret that my personal political views are very far from those of the Yamina party that the prime minister heads, and that I’m not happy to say the least with the composition of the government and its actions,” Mintzer wrote on the council’s website.

“It’s quite possible that even among the founding families that have been invited, there are those who are angry about the current government’s policy,” he added.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh slammed Bennett's visit to the West Bank, denouncing "an intrusion into the Palestinian territories and a provocation to the Palestinian people and to the decisions of the international community, which regards the Jewish settlements as illegitimate and contrary to international law."

Last week the Israeli panel that authorizes West Bank settlement construction approved nearly 4,500 new housing units in the area, with 500 units allocated to the settlement of Elkana.

Also on Tuesday, Bennett met with Israeli military chief Aviv Kochavi and Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, who oversees Israel's military activity in the West Bank, to discuss security issues.

“The directives are clear – to hit terrorists wherever they are, with any and all types of weapons. We back the army and the Israeli police to hit any terrorist – in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and anywhere else in the country. Whoever raises a hand against an Israeli citizen or an Israeli soldier, his blood be on his own head,” Bennett said at the end of the meeting.

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