Gantz to IDF: Prepare for sovereignty in Judea and Samaria

The defense minister told Israel’s military on Monday to step up preparations for annexation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced he had consulted with IDF Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi regarding preparations for Israel’s annexation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Gantz made the announcement shortly before news broke of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s discussion of the matter with Jared Kushner, a top advisor to President Donal Trump and one of the primary architects of the U.S.’ Mideast peace plan.

In the statement released by Gantz’s office, the defense minister said he “instructed Chief of Staff Kochavi” to ramp up “the IDF’s preparations” in light of “political progress,” alluding to advances in Israel’s plan to extend sovereignty over communities in Judea and Samaria.

Gantz also announced he plans “in the coming days to appoint an official to coordinate necessary steps,” in addition to putting together a team “to coordinate operational components of the moves in Judea and Samaria.”

Under the annexation plan, Israel will declare sovereignty over towns in which Jewish Israelis already live. The Palestinians will continue to control two-thirds of Judea and Samaria and maintain the possibility of establishing an independent state, provided they discontinue paying terrorists to attack Israelis in addition to other conditions.

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Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria from Jordan in 1967’s Six-Day War, during which four Arab nations attacked the Jewish state. Prior to the war, no independent Palestinian state existed in Judea and Samaria.

In theory, Israel’s annexation plans conform to the U.S.’ Mideast peace plan, which proposes $50 billion in economic incentives to the Palestinians in addition to the possibility of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected the plan wholesale. The Hamas terror group, which rules Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, rejects any final resolution to the conflict that does not include the elimination of Israel.

In the face of Israel’s plans to move forward with annexation, Abbas has claimed that the PA will no longer honor agreements with Israel and the U.S. These agreements cover tax collection, law enforcement, and the security coordination through which Israel tracks Hamas terror cells in Judea and Samaria.

An unnamed PA official, however, told TPS that “coordination” continues to take place “by virtue of habit.” On Sunday, 63,000 Palestinians entered Israeli-controlled areas, a figure that included 40,000 construction workers and 5,000 agricultural workers.