Gush Etzion leader expects annexation of settlements in ‘next few days’

There are currently 24 Jewish settlements with a population of more than 24,000 residents in the Gush Etzion region.

By World Israel News Staff

Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne’eman announced on Tuesday that in the “next few days” Israel will annex the settlements in the Gush Etzion region.

“In the coming days, we will continue working to bring about the great news: Deciding on settlement areas which will be under Israeli sovereignty, deciding on new management policies for all the aspects of municipal life, adjusting the issues of planning and building, creating transition guidelines which will apply during the interim period, and so on,” Ne’eman said.

The Gush Etzion region is located in the Judaean Mountains, directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Judea and Samaria. There are currently 24 Jewish settlements with a population of more than 24,000 residents under the Regional Council’s jurisdiction.

According to Ne’eman, after speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on several occasions, he is confident that the government will never agree to the creation of a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Ne’eman also said that his biggest challenge right now is to ensure the safety of the isolated settlements under his jurisdiction.

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“In Gush Etzion there are three towns: Ma’ale Amos, Metzad, and Karmei Tzur. Sovereignty will also be applied to these towns, as well as to their access roads, which serve as lifelines. One of our most important tasks right now is to decide on as broad borders as possible for these isolated towns, during the interim period facing us,” he said.

Following President Trump’s release of his “Deal of the Century,” which calls for Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria,  a spokesman for Netanyahu announced that the Israeli leader will ask his Cabinet on Sunday to approve his plan to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

At the White House on Tuesday, Netanyahu committed to “apply [Israel’s] laws to the Jordan Valley and all settlements in Judea and Samaria,” indicating a declaration of Israeli sovereignty in this region may not be contingent on the conclusion of the peace deal.