One of Israel's top settler leaders excoriated U.S. President Donald Trump and senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday, saying the U.S. peace proposal presented by the White House earlier this year shows they are "not friends of Israel."
“Trump and Kushner had shown through the proposal that they are not friends of the State of Israel and do not consider the security and settlement interests of the State of Israel,” David Elhayani, head of the Yesha Council of West Bank mayors, told Israeli daily Haaretz.
The comments represent a sharp escalation in rhetoric from the head of the influential organization, according to the newspaper, who completely rejects the creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of the Jewish state as specified in the U.S. plan.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out in support of the U.S. President and his close aide saying, "Trump is the greatest friend Israel has, he has led historic changes including recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem."
Washington's peace proposal, the most favorable plan ever presented by a US administration to Jerusalem, envisions a Palestinian state on 70 percent of the West Bank land, with Israel being allowed to annex virtually all its settlements and outposts along with the Jordan Valley.
It remains unclear if such an arrangement is possible, with Palestinian leaders required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, demilitarize Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and give up on the right of return - conditions Ramallah has completely rejected.
But settler leaders like Elhayani believe that the compromise would leave Israel's security completely vulnerable to enemy attack while insisting Palestinians have lost their fight for statehood despite international law.
Netanyahu met with the major heads of settler organizations earlier this week to try and convince them to support Trump's plan, but his efforts reportedly fell mostly on deaf ears.
These rumblings from settler leaders have also caused considerable consternation in Washington, with US officials threatening to completely shelf support for Israel's annexation efforts if public criticism of the Trump peace plan continues, according to the Haaretz report.