May 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli settlers living in the West Bank expressed their disappointment on Wednesday regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's U.S. Congressional address, where he suggested Israel would be willing to swap land with Palestinians in exchange for peace.

"His discourse was ambivalent," Danny Dayan, Head of the Council of Jewish Communities in the West Bank told Xinhua.

"He tried to cause an impact saying that the Jewish people belong in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and then he said he would be willing to give up some of our land," Dayan said, adding that "The possibility that some of our communities fall under the Palestinian territory is very unfortunate and unrealistic."

The possibility of a pull out, like that of Gaza in 2005, is grimly viewed by many settlers, who consider the settlements as rightful Israeli communities, towns and cities.

"I don't think it will happen in the end," Dayan said, "but it' s discouraging."

Many of the settlers claim that if the Palestinian state is finally founded, they would never be really accepted in Palestine even if offered citizenship.

Netanyahu's speech raised hackles among right-wing lawmakers, who voiced their discontent about the concessions Israel would make in a future deal with the Palestinians. The outline of the proposed plan presented by Netanyahu would include Israel handing over parts of its territory to the Palestinians.

"We were elected to safeguard, not 'hand over'," Danny Danon from Netanyahu's own Likud Party said in derision the proposed land swaps.

During a meeting with Likud members last week, Danon called on Netanyahu "to impose Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria ( the West Bank)."

"There was no real need for Netanyahu to declare that he is ready to give the Arabs large pieces of the homeland," he told Israel Radio, "and nothing aside from weakness and defeatism required him to announce that in a peace deal that he will abandon Jewish towns outside the borders of the state."

The opposition Kadima Party slammed Netanyahu's speech, pointing out that he would eventually be judged by his actions, and not his oratory.

Kadima member Yoel Hasson said that the prime minister's speech before Congress was "an election commercial."


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