Blue and White parliamentarians are attempting to promote a staged annexation plan that would begin with the two well recognized settlement blocs of Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, Kan Radio reported on Wednesday morning.
It added that it was possible that an additional two areas would be added to that plan, the Ariel bloc and the Jordan Valley, which is not considered to be a bloc.
The report comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz are at odds over Israeli plans to annex up to 30% of the West Bank. Under the coalition agreement such a step is allowed to take place as early as July 1. Under the agreement, Gantz has the right to object and Netanyahu has the right to override that objection.
But the US wants Gantz to support the plan. Gantz in turn wants a plan that could possibly be palatable to the Arab world, so that Israel’s relations with its neighbors, particularly Jordan, would not be unduly harmed. The hope of an annexation plan for some or all of the blocs would be acceptable to both the Israeli Right and the Arab world.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman immediately rejected the idea of a partial sovereignty plan starting with Gush Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim.
"Prime Minister, do not cave to pressure and threats of the Left and the Arabs,” Ne’eman said. “We urge you to execute this historic process now and now apply full sovereignty to all the settlements in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, just as you promised Israeli citizens during the elections.”
He urged Netanyahu to apply sovereignty without creating settlement enclaves, freezing settlement building or allowing for the creation of a Palestinian state.
On Tuesday Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni said he would be open to a staged sovereignty plan as long as it was clear that a Palestinian state would not be created.
He later clarified for The Jerusalem Post that settler leaders would accept a plan to apply sovereignty in stages, as long as Israel rejected the creation of a Palestinian state. There is speculation that Netanyahu may weigh a phased sovereignty plan in an effort to secure the support of Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Ministry Benny Gantz on annexation.
“There must be sovereignty, even if it is in stages, but in no way can there be a Palestinian state, nor a [settlement building] freeze, and no enclave settlements,” Dilmoni said.