It was 50 years ago that Israel liberated Judea and Samaria from Jordanian occupation and began resettling the biblical heartland in accordance with both the Word of God and the original League of Nations decisions.
At a ceremony marking the occasion on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
"Settlement is important to you in the same way that it is important to me, so I say very clearly: There will be no further uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel.
"The way to make peace is not through uprooting — not of Jews and not of Arabs. We did not get peace when we uprooted settlements, we got terror and missiles and we will not do that again.
"Any territory that falls into the hands of radical Islam becomes the basis for violence, murder and death, and so we will not abandon our national home to danger. Instead we will strengthen our home with this momentum."
While Netanyahu ran all of his past election campaigns on a platform of strengthening the Jewish communities in the disputed territories, he has come under harsh criticism for repeatedly bowing to international pressure by implementing construction freezes.
One of Netanyahu's most outspoken critics in this regard has been Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who told Wednesday's gathering in the Etzion Bloc of settlements south of Jerusalem:
"I don’t take such a step lightly, in order to implement sovereignty, it takes timing and courage. There is no better time than now, as it is clear that we are here by right and not by grace.
"There is no better time that this, even if world resists, we shall overcome it. The world also understands what the Israeli public understands, the Land of Israel will never again be divided!"
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