Israeli Foreign Minister: Sovereignty not being talked about now

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says the sovereignty issue is off the table for now for both Israel and the U.S.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that neither Israel nor the United States are talking about the issue of applying Israeli sovereignty to settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.

In an interview with Israel Army Radio, the former head of the IDF said the issue has been put on the back burner for now after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as his target date to begin the process extending Israel’s borders to include settlements in Judea and Samaria.

“I think that no one is talking about it, and justifiably … also not the Americans, at least for now,” Ashkenazi said.

“I can’t tell you for sure that it is off the table, but I said before the first of July that nothing is holy about that date other than the people of Israel and its security,” Ashkenazi said.

As Foreign Minister, Ashkenazi said he speaks to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo every week. Pompeo said several times in the past few months that any decision to apply Israeli sovereignty over settlements was Jerusalem’s to make and the U.S. would honor such a decision.

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Under the peace plan proposed by President Trump, Israel would be able to apply sovereignty on up to 30 percent of the land where there are Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. However, the remainder of the land would become part of an independent Palestinian state in a deal that the Palestinians have rejected.

Ashkenazi said he wasn’t sure if the sovereignty issue would return to the national agenda for discussion.

“If it comes back, without harming existing agreements, we will do it in dialogue, including with our neighbors and we will talk with them,” Ashkenazi said. “When it will be relevant you will hear our position on it.”