(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will debate a bill to annex Ma’aleh Adumim this Sunday, just two days after the inauguration of US President- elect Donald Trump, MK Bezalel Smotrich told the Knesset plenum on Tuesday.
“I believe that this is the present the nation of Israel deserves in the wake of Trump’s inauguration and in advance of the policy change with respect to Judea and Samaria,” said Smotrich, who co-chairs the Knesset Land of Israel Caucus.
“On Sunday we will submit to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation a bill to apply sovereignty on Ma’aleh Adumim,” he said during a plenum debate on the matter.
The plenum debate was held just two days after representatives from 70 nations gathered in Paris and called on Israel and the Palestinians not to take unilateral actions “that would prejudice the outcome of future negotiations” including with respect to borders.
Last month, a UN Security Council resolution declared that Israeli activity over the pre- 1967 lines was illegal and would not be recognized by the international community.
But Israel believes that Trump will be supportive of Israel’s hold on West Bank settlements.
As a sign of what he hopes will be a new era in Israel-US ties, Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel plans to attend Trump’s inauguration in Washington on Friday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed annexation attempts in the past. The Ma’aleh Adumim annexation bill, has therefore, been put forward as a private member’s bill.
Right-wing lawmakers believe there is enough support in the Knesset for its passage, given that the government and many Israelis hold that Ma’aleh Adumim will be part of Israel’s final borders in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.
“A large majority of the Israeli public supports the application of sovereignty on Ma’aleh Adumim regardless of any diplomatic agreement,” Smotrich said.
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) warned that the proposal would provoke the international community. It’s a “terrible” and “dangerous” bill that undermines Israeli democracy, Shai said adding that he would be sure it would never receive the Knesset’s final approval.
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) warned that such legislation would turn Israel into an apartheid state. When Israel truly becomes a democracy in which everyone has equal rights, “then I will be prime minister and not Benjamin Netanyahu.”
MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), who also plans to attend the Trump inauguration, said that “Ma’aleh Adumim is part of Jerusalem and Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. There is no reason in the world to continue the illusion that another state will be created here.”
He added that the best next step was not just to apply sovereignty to Ma’aleh Adumim but to annex all of Judea and Samaria.
With a population of 37,525, Ma’aleh Adumim is the third largest West Bank settlement and the core of Gush Adumim, an area that also includes Kfar Adumim, Alon and Nofei Prat, and sometimes other settlements.
The Palestinians hold that it is an indispensable part of their future state.