Nir Barkat urges US to unveil peace plan, eyes 2M residents in West Bank

Speaking at the Kohelet Forum’s conference on the US decision that settlements are not illegal on Wednesday, Barkat noted that he believed that the US policy shift would be reflected in the plan.

MK Nir Barkat (photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Nir Barkat
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Likud MK Nir Barkat has urged the US to release its peace plan soon, even before the upcoming election on March 2, stating that it will offer an opportunity to further develop the Israeli communities in the West Bank.
Speaking at the Kohelet Policy Forum’s conference on settlements on Wednesday, Barkat noted that he believed that the US policy shift announced by Pompeo in November would be reflected in the proposal that has been referred to as “the Deal of the century.”
“I am confident that Secretary Pompeo’s statement is an integral part of the American plan and is closely linked to Jared Kushner’s proposal advanced in Bahrain promoting significant economic investment in the Palestinian economy," Barkat said. "Now is a perfect opportunity to similarly grow the communities throughout Judea and Samaria at a pace like never before."
Barkat thanked the US administration for the move, which overturned a position that Washington had maintained since 1978.
“This declaration is a recognition of the legal and historic right of the Jewish people to live wherever we wish," he said. "This is how it should be in other parts of the world and certainly here in the Jewish State. This declaration is therefore an exceptional opportunity for Israel to ensure our continued growth and expansion throughout these areas.
“Israel needs to set a goal for the settlement of two million people in Judea and Samaria within fifty years. This is a commitment which requires that we already now lay the framework to make that possible and this is an investment which will also benefit the Palestinian people,” he added, presenting his economic and demographic plan for growth in Israel which was developed in cooperation with the Kohelet Forum and with Michael Porter, a tenured professor at the Harvard Business School.
Speaking at the forum earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that settlements would not be evacuated in any peace plan while he was leading the government.
On Monday, Avi Berkowitz, assistant to US President Donald Trump and special representative for international negotiations, met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss the Trump administration’s peace plan, sparking speculation that the proposal might be released soon.