In a new West Bank annexation Yamina Party head Ayelet Shaked filed a bill in the Knesset to apply sovereignty to settlements in the Jordan Valley, Ma’aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion.
The annexation bill also includes Efrat and Betar Illit, which are part of the Etzion bloc but are not within the auspices of the Gush Etzion Regional Council. Sovereignty would also be applied to the Megilot Region of the Dead Sea.Shaked clarified that the application of sovereignty would be for the areas within the settlements and would not cover roads and archaeological and industrial parks in the regions of Judea and Samaria. The move comes as there is a caretaker government in place, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and while the peace process is frozen as a result. However, the Knesset is still in operation and can pass legislation.The Trump administration has refrained from criticizing settlement activity or annexation pledges made by Netanyahu.“There is a diplomatic window of opportunity and willingness on the part of the US for this kind of annexation that will not return,” Shaked said. “We cannot afford to hesitate or wait. We must take advantage of this window of opportunity immediately and begin to apply sovereignty over these areas. It is for this reason that the State of Israel cannot be dragged into another election cycle.”In August, Netanyahu promised to annex all settlements. He said he would start with the Jordan Valley immediately upon formation of the government. Blue and White has made no such pledge.