As July 1 deadline for annexation grows nearer, prime minister doubles down on sovereignty, despite objections from many corners.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Israel Hayom reported that on Monday in a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his intention to declare sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, as outlined in Trump’s deal of the century.
“We are facing a historic opportunity and we are working on it right now,” said Netanyahu.
At another faction meeting shortly afterwards, Netanyahu said, “We will apply sovereignty to 30 percent of Judea and Samaria.”
When asked about the possible damage to relations with Arab states, Netanyahu said, “There will be protests and noise, but the shared interests between Israel and the Arab state will remain in place. So after a few months, things will get back on track.”
Netanyahu said the “main obstacle” preventing the plan from moving forward was the lack of support from Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Gabi Asheknazi.
Last week, Defense Minister and Blue and White party Chairman Benny Gantz expressed his support for the Trump plan in a Jerusalem meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Gantz called the plan “an historic opportunity that should be promoted responsibly and constructively, in dialogue with the American government and with various regional and global players.”
Support for the Trump plan varies within the Israeli Right. Because the plan requires land concessions for a Palestinian state, which would exist alongside Israeli-annexed areas, and leaves 19 isolated Jewish settlements as enclaves surrounded by Palestinian territory, some settlement leaders have vocally opposed it.
Likud officials have called those opposed to the plan “crazy and irresponsible.”
MK Ayelet Shaked of the Yemina party responded to Netanyahu’s latest announcement, saying “If Netanyahu wants to declare sovereignty, he will do it.”
“Netanyahu cannot hide behind Blue and White – according to the coalition agreement, their consent is not required and Likud officials admit the approval from Blue and White is not required by the U.S.”
“The maps need to be updated, we need to not agree to a building freeze, not recognize a Palestinian state, and just do it. Gantz and Ashkenazi are the same as Livni,” she said, referring to Tzipi Livni, a former Likud politician who veered Left.
Yisrael Gantz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, who opposes the Trump plan’s proviso for a Palestinian state, also responded to Netanyahu’s latest announcement.
“My Likud friends, a little respect,” he said. “At least you are expected to consult us, share what’s going on, and not hide the facts. Surely you won’t turn us into a punching bag while pointing to facts you might be trying to suppress.”
“Take responsibility – bring about a change of plan and bring sovereignty, but correctly. You can do it,” he said.