JERUSALEM, Israel - Ahead of July 1, it appears Israel will delay the process of annexing parts of biblical Judea and Samaria, the West Bank as put forth in President Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
That’s the date Netanyahu set as the earliest time he would bring the plan to extend Israeli sovereignty and law over 30 percent of the West Bank, to a vote.
American sources close to the issue said Israel would wait to start annexation until after July 1, the Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
In a taped address to CUFI’s annual conference earlier this week, Netanyahu avoided mentioning the July 1 date and instead talked about the virtues of Trump’s Deal of the Century.
“His plan doesn’t call for Israel to return to the indefensible 1967 lines. It provides Israel with defensible borders including the strategic Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu said.
“It makes clear that the Jewish people have a valid, legal, historical and moral claim to Judea and Samaria and it supports Israel’s sovereignty over the Jewish communities there,” he added.
While his coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz praised the deal, he told his Blue and White party, that dealing with COVID-19 is Israel’s priority.
“Together we will win against the coronavirus, and together we will deal with the economic and social consequences of this medical phenomenon. Anything unrelated to the battle against the coronavirus will wait for the days after the virus,” Gantz said.
Some say that that’s double-speak for “never” regarding the annexation.
Israelis have been divided over the plan, even among the 450,000 who live in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
“I’m for applying Israel's sovereign rights over all of Judea and Samaria, but, you know, I will take 30 percent,” said Caroline Glick, senior columnist for the Israeli daily Israel HaYom.
“It makes clear that we’re not going to be making ourselves vulnerable to national destruction by in any way surrendering our control over our eastern frontier with Jordan and really with the entire Islamic world in the Jordan Valley and that our Israeli communities, our Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are permanent communities,” Glick told CBN News.
“Half a million Israelis today live in these communities and they have been demonized by the left for decades and decades and they’ve been delegitimized and slandered in some sort of parallel to terrorism and some sort of morally equivalent to terrorism and murder, which is ridiculous,” said Glick, who is a resident of a large community in Judea.
Others are more cautious.
“Israel could apply its law over this area. The question is what’s going to be on the other hand of this deal,” Meir Deutsch, Director-General of Regavim, a settler organization, told CBN News.
“Is this just going to be applying sovereignty, applying the law over this area or is this going to be also the creation of a terrorist state within the heart of Israel?” Deustch asked
In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority has sent a text to the international Quartet, involved in the peacemaking process, saying it is “ready to resume direct bilateral negotiations” with Israel where they left off in 2014, Israeli media reported quoting AFP.
The report said they would agree to “minor” territorial concessions.
Earlier this month, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the PA had drafted a counter-proposal to the US plan but gave no details.