Photo: Flash90

Will Israel annex parts of West Bank?

Contrary to promises made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a press briefing in the immediate aftermath of the unveiling of the American peace plan on Tuesday, it now appears that the Israeli cabinet – which was scheduled to meet on Sunday – is not going to vote on a motion to apply Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.

In light of U.S. Administration officials reported reservations over the consequences of an immediate annexation of the referred to territories, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin – who was in Washington with Netanyahu – revealed that a decision on annexation would be postponed until next Tuesday.

The White House subsequently made it clear that the Americans were opposed to any Israeli annexation prior to the formation of a joint committee. Moreover, such an annexation would likely only be permitted after the upcoming Israeli elections, which are scheduled for the 2, March 2020.

In response to these developments; Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who has persistently advocated the annexation of the West Bank, announced that he does not plan to wait until after the elections.

Speaking at an annual security conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, the top Israeli Defense official revealed that he has already ordered the establishment of a special team to implement the application of Israeli law and sovereignty over the disputed territories in question. Naftali asserted that “History knocked on the door of our home and gave us a one-time opportunity to apply Israeli law on all settlements in Samaria, Judea, the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. This is about 30 percent of the entire territories of Judea and Samaria. This is an opportunity to determine the Jordan Valley as the Western border of Israel, an opportunity to determine the territories of our country, an opportunity to anchor our security for generations and an opportunity to cherish forever the land of our fathers…In order not to miss the opportunity I not only propose but also act. Therefore, I announce here this morning that last night I’ve ordered to form a special team to implement the application of Israeli law and sovereignty on all Jewish settlements in the Shomron, Judea, the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. The team will start working immediately.”