‘Deal of the century’ will leave settlements in Israeli hands - report

Likud MK Michal Shir thanked President Donald Trump for what she called “the historical justice he is doing for the State of Israel.”

May 13, 2019 21:57
4 minute read.
THE JEWISH community of Mitzpe Kramim east of the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015

THE JEWISH community of Mitzpe Kramim east of the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Trump administration’s “deal of the century” will place West Bank settlements under Israeli rule, Channel 12 said in a report that caused a brief political storm on Sunday night.

The US would not object to a de facto annexation of the settlements, Channel 12 said, suggesting that Israel could apply Israeli civil law to the area in a manner akin to what was done with the Golan Law in 1981. West Bank Palestinian cities would remain under Palestinian control, the report added.
It was the latest in a series of speculative media articles regarding the unpublished deal. Over the last weeks, US special envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner have urged the public not to believe any of the media reports and to wait until the plan has been released, possibly as early as June.

Some right-wing politicians attacked the purported US plan for stopping short of full annexation.

“We call on Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and his ministers to announce their complete rejection of the deal of the century,” said the Nahala movement and some settler leaders. This included Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz.

The Sovereignty Movement said application of Israeli law over the West Bank settlements was far too limited and a dangerous compromise.

“The application of Israeli civil law over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is simply a bumbling and dangerous attempt at compromise that will allow for the establishment of a Palestinian entity in the rest of the territory,” spokespeople for the movement said.

Movement co-chairs Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar said, “We do not make deals or compromises on the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is entirely ours and we must apply the State of Israel’s full sovereignty over it.”

Others insisted that Netanyahu must make good on his preelection campaign pledge to annex West Bank settlements.

For four years, the Knesset Land of Israel caucus led a Zionist campaign “to impose sovereignty over Judea and Samaria,” the group’s chair MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) said.

“This mission has reached a critical point in time that we must not miss,” Kisch said.

“I call on the prime minister to fulfill his commitment to the right-wing voters,” Kisch said. “In light of the emerging American recognition he should enter the history books as the leader who completed the victory in the Six Day War and apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.”

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman and South Hebron Hills Regional Council Head Yohai Damri echoed his call.

Likud MK Michal Shir said that Jewish settlement in the West Bank was now a matter of “consensus in the Israeli public” and no longer a question of “right or wrong, but rather how and when.”

Shir called on the Knesset to pass her bill, which calls for the immediate annexation of West Bank settlements. 

THE LEFT held that it would inflame the region and undermined any possibility of a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The Netanyahu-Trump axis of extremism will ignite the region,” Hadash-Ta’al Party head MK Ayman Odeh said. “It dooms us all to live by the sword through a deal entirely supportive of right-wing policies, the occupation and the annihilation of any possibility of establishing a Palestinian state.”

In a “deal” that is entirely supportive of right-wing policies,” he added. Peace is not possible without an end to the “occupation” and the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Odeh said.

“Netanyahu and Trump, of course, know this, they just do not want peace,” Odeh said.

Last week, Greenblatt spoke of the peace plan when he addressed members of the UN Security Council in New York.

“The vision for peace that we will soon put forward will be realistic and implementable, but it will require compromises from both sides,” he said. “Our team has attempted to look at these issues with a fresh perspective. We have recognized the current reality, but also what remains possible.”

“It is a serious effort to lay out the core issues of the conflict in enough detail that everyone will be able to imagine what peace could look like,” Greenblatt added. “This is the right package of compromises for both sides to take in order to leave the past behind and try to start a new chapter where there can be tremendous hope and opportunity in the region. It seems it would be in the best interest of everyone in the room to support the parties to get together and to get behind this opportunity.”

“We genuinely hope both the Israelis and Palestinians will take a real look at our vision for peace when we release it, before any unilateral steps are taken,” he continued. “We hope to present our vision soon. And in the meantime, we will continue to speak the truth, even when it is not welcome.”

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