For perhaps the first time, a minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government has claimed that the Prime Minister plans to give away most of Judea and Samaria to an incipient Arab state, with Israel retaining only the settlement blocs. During a tour of Gush Etzion, Michael Eitan, whose title is Minister for Improvement of Government Services, said that “enacting the Prime Minister's policies will lead to the annexation of the settlement blocs, including Gush Etzion, with the intent of giving up other parts of Judea and Samaria for the benefit of a Palestinian state.”
Gush Etzion Council head Shaul Goldstein, who accompanied Eitan during the tour, said that he appreciated the minister's vote of confidence in the future of the Gush, even if he disagreed strongly with Eitan on surrendering other parts of Yesha.
In his comments, Eitan was referring to a speech by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the Knesset in mid-May. In the wake of that speech, several right-wing MKs expressed concern over the fact that Netanyahu stressed that Israel would keep the settlement blocs in any final-status settlement with the PA – but that “painful concessions” would need to be made. This was taken by many as a sign that Netanyahu was prepared to give them away to the PA for establishment of an Arab state in Judea and Samaria.