Conversations about a partial annexation plan, which could include settlement blocs such as Ma’aleh Adumim, have not included their official leaders, such as the city's mayor, Benny Kashriel.
“No one has spoken to us or shown us maps,” he said.
The question of whether Israel plans to annex 30% of the West Bank – which would include all the settlements – or whether it would apply sovereignty just to the settlement blocs, changes from minute to minute, he told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
His city of 38,000 people is located just five kilometers outside of Jerusalem, in the direction of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.
When Israel speaks of retaining high Jewish population areas of the West Bank, his settlement bloc is often one of the premier locations that come to mind.
Yet with all of the reports circulating about such a possibility, no one has picked up the phone to discuss this with him.
Kashriel's city has always enjoyed wide Israeli “consensus” and even international consensus when it comes to its future inclusion in Israel’s final borders.
Former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin spoke of the importance of placing Ma’aleh Adumim within Israel’s sovereign borders, Kashriel said. That was followed by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spoke of Ma’aleh Adumim as a bloc that should be within sovereign Israel.
He noted that even the grassroots 2003 Geneva Initiative, which was signed by PLO Executive Committee member Yasser Abed Rabo and former Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin, placed Ma’aleh Adumim within Israel’s sovereign borders in its map for a two-state resolution of the conflict. That placement excluded the unbuilt E1 section.
He rejected as implausible a story that appeared in Yediot Ahronot which spoke of the possibility of placing Ma'aleh Adumim within Jerusalem’s municipal borders as part of an annexation plan.
This idea was also not discussed with him, nor historically has it ever been raised.
There is additional state land that is part of Area C, which is neither part of Jerusalem nor Ma’aleh Adumim, he said. Such territory would have to be included in any such plan, he said.
“Ma’aleh Adumim wants to be part of sovereign Israel, but it doesn’t want to be a neighborhood of Jerusalem,” he said.