הבית הלבן
Benjamin Netanyahu clasps hands with Donald Trump as the U.S. president unveils his Mideast peace plan at the White House
Photo: EPA
Benjamin Netanyahu clasps hands with Donald Trump as the U.S. president unveils his Mideast peace plan at the White House

In wake of Trump plan, Netanyahu moves on Israeli sovereignty over West Bank

PM says Israel will begin implementing its laws in 'all West Bank settlements' and Jordan Valley, will bring it to cabinet vote on Sunday; Blue & White throws support behind U.S. plan; Bennett says Israel should 'take it all now'

Ynet, News Agencies |
Published: 01.28.20 , 21:39
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he intends to bring a proposal for applying Israeli jurisdiction to the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the West Bank settlements to a cabinet vote "presumably on Sunday."
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  • Netanyahu, who stood beside U.S. President Donald Trump as he announced his long-awaited peace plan from the White House, also said after the announcement Tuesday that Israel would begin implementing its laws in "all settlements" in the West Bank, as well as in the Jordan Valley – the stretch of the territory captured in 1967 that abuts Jordan.
    הבית הלבןהבית הלבן
    Benjamin Netanyahu clasps hands with Donald Trump as the U.S. president unveils his Mideast peace plan at the White House
    (Photo: EPA)
    According to the Trump plan, Palestinians will in the future receive land in Israel's Negev Desert, while Israel will retain settlements in the West Bank.
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said after Trump's announcement Tuesday that Israel can "annex settlements at any time."
    Friedman, himself a staunch supporters of the settlements, told reporters at the White House that "Israel should not wait at all for annexation of the settlements."
    גבול בקעת הירדן בקעה יריחוגבול בקעת הירדן בקעה יריחו
    The Jordan Valley
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The Blue & White party, whose leader Benny Gantz met with Trump in Washington on Monday, also said Tuesday that it was throwing its support behind the U.S. plan.
    The party said in a statement that the plan is "entirely consistent" with its positions, and "provides a strong, viable basis for advancing a peace accord with the Palestinians, while preserving the existing arrangements between Israel and Jordan and Egypt."
    בני גנץ ב בית הלבן ב פגישה עם נשיא ארצות הברית דונלד טראמפבני גנץ ב בית הלבן ב פגישה עם נשיא ארצות הברית דונלד טראמפ
    Benny Gantz meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday
    (Photo: Elad Malka)
    "In order for implementation to be possible, Israel must move forward toward a strong and stable government, led by an individual who can direct the fullness of his time and energy toward ensuring the country's security and its future," Blue & White said, discounting Netanyahu's fitness to lead while facing corruption charges.
    Netanyahu's hard-line allies called Tuesday for the immediate annexation of the West Bank settlements.
    Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said the proposal offers Israel "an opportunity to determine the territory of our country" and "include all the Israeli settlements in the land of Israel within the sovereign state of Israel."
    Bennett, a hawkish member of the right-wing Yemina party, said that Israel "cannot wait until after the elections, and won't be satisfied with partial sovereignty -- take it all now."
    Ayelet Shaked, former justice minister and Bennett's running mate, said Israel is at "an historic moment" and also called for unilateral annexation of West Bank land.
    "The dangerous part of the plan, that is the establishment of a Palestinian state or recognition of a Palestinian state, won't happen," she wrote on Twitter.
    The plan did not however find favor with the left-wing, which came out vocally against the proposal.
    Labor-Gesher-Meretz leader Amir Peretz said Israel needs "a diplomatic compass" and a "renewal of the peace process in the way of [Yitzhak] Rabin," the assassinated prime minister who spearheaded the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.
    Peretz cautioned that the plan "cannot be executed unilaterally."
    "We must thank President Trump for his honest intentions, and after the [March 2] elections start direct negotiations with states in the region and the Palestinian Authority," Peretz said.
    Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said that as an interim prime minister under indictment, "Netanyahu doesn't have a mandate to make any decision, and certainly not to annex significant parts of the territories."
    "There is not and won't be an alternative to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the basis of the two-state solution, a key principle that appears in the Trump plan, and avoidance of any unilateral steps," Horowitz said.
    The Trump plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, something to which the Palestinians will almost certainly object.
    The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.
    The West Bank settlement of Shiloh The West Bank settlement of Shiloh
    The West Bank settlement of Shiloh
    (Photo: Daniel Ventura)
    The plan does call for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated. However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.
    The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely. However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements. It builds on a 30-page economic plan for the West Bank and Gaza that was unveiled last June and which the Palestinians have also rejected,
    Under the terms of the "peace vision" that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working on for nearly three years, the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels.

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