PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)
US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” expected to be rolled out after the elections on April 9, will include a Palestinian state on 85-90% of the West Bank and the division of Jerusalem, according to a Channel 13 News report.
The report, based on a source who took part in a briefing in Washington on the plan by a senior American official, said it calls for the annexation of the large settlements and the evacuation of settlement outposts deemed illegal under Israeli law.
Isolated settlements, such as Yitzhar and Itamar, would not be evacuated under the plan, but no further building would be allowed, in order to “dry them out.”
The plan, details of which have been a closely guarded secret for months, also calls for a land swap for the land that Israel will annex, though the ratio of the swap was not immediately clear, according to the report.
Regarding Jerusalem, the report stated that the city would be divided, with west Jerusalem and some areas of east Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and east Jerusalem – including most of the Arab neighborhoods – the capital of a Palestinian state.
Israel would retain sovereignty over the Old City and its immediate environs, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, but it would be administered together with the Palestinians, Jordanians and perhaps other countries.
The report said that the White House expectation was for the Palestinians to reject the plan when it is presented, but for Israel to give a positive response. The Palestinians, who have cut off ties with the US, have said that they would reject any plan Trump would put forward.
If the report about the contours of the plan is accurate, the amount of land that would make up the Palestinian state is more than double Areas A and B, where the Palestinians today have control, but less than what Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008, which he rejected.
Olmert offered a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank, proposing that Israel keep 6.3% of Judea and Samaria to incorporate the large settlement blocs, and compensate the Palestinians with Israeli land equivalent to 5.8% of the West Bank. He also proposed putting the Old City and the holy sites under international control.
A senior White House official said in response to the report, “As in the past, speculation with regards to the content of the plan is not accurate. We have no further comment.”
An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said it had “nothing to offer” on the news report.
Beit El Council head Shai Alon said, “The US president has achieved many things. He was the first [president] to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize our rights to the Holy City. But his solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, as it was revealed this evening, is filled with holes, and of course we oppose it.”
The days in which Jewish building in Judea and Samaria is frozen have come and gone, he said. “We have survived hard times in Judea and Samaria, and now we are focused on building and strengthening the place [to absorb] tens of thousands of families,” Alon said. “We say no to land swaps and no to a freeze.”
Alon rejected any talk of dividing Jerusalem. “We didn’t return to Jerusalem after thousands of years of exile, so that a Jordanian guard would inspect us at the entrance to the Western Wall.”
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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