Tensions Simmer as Target Date for Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria Approaches

June 29, 2020

by: Kate Norman

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The Jordan Valley

Monday, 29 June 2020 | The big July 1 deadline is looming.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing to begin applying Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley on that date.

Yet as the clock ticks and Wednesday approaches, the future of the biblical heartland, the so-called West Bank, seems uncertain.

The international community has weighed in—with the United Nations, the European Union and Arab states condemning the Jewish state’s plans for sovereignty in the region.

Israel gaining control over the proposed territory falls in line with President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the region, which would see Israel apply sovereignty over pockets of Jewish communities amounting to 30% of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley alongside a demilitarized Palestinian state.

Yet the Jewish state has reportedly been waiting for the American nod of approval before proceeding—and has yet to receive it.

Last week, the US ambassador to Israel flew to Washington DC for multiple meetings with pertinent top US brass on the subject. Though Trump reportedly didn’t attend the first few meetings last week, he was expected to join in later and weigh in on the subject, even giving a final call on the matter.

That has yet to happen, however, and now Trump’s special envoy for the region is in Israel this week for more discussions with Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz on how to move forward.

With the international backlash over Israel’s sovereignty plans, Israeli and US officials are reportedly weighing different options: whether Israel should control all the land allotted under Trump’s peace plan or start slowly, acquiring Jewish communities near Jerusalem and slowly spreading out.

Starting big or small, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has made it clear that either path will draw backlash. The PA said its people “reject the American–Israeli annexation plan, whether it’s complete or partial,” a PA spokesman said Sunday.

A UN official for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories called on the EU to “develop a menu of countermeasures” against the Jewish state if it proceeds with sovereignty and “should review and be willing to suspend or downgrade its array of trade and cooperation agreements…”

King Abdullah II of Jordan has been a one-man band rallying the nations against the move, which he has claimed would destabilize the region. The king threatened to downgrade diplomatic relations with Israel and revisit the peace treaty between the nations.

Netanyahu disagreed and said in a video message to Christians United for Israel (CUFI) that Israel applying sovereignty in the region “will not set back the cause of peace, it will advance peace.”

Pointing out that the peace plan will not “uproot a single Jew or Arab,” Netanyahu added that sovereignty in the will bring reality back to the discussion and acknowledge that “the Jewish people have a valid, legal, historical and moral claim to Judea and Samaria.”

As July 1 draws near, it seems unlikely that Israel will move forward in line with the prime minister’s goal. It also seems uncertain exactly how the Jewish state will proceed, whether it will apply sovereignty on a big scale or start small and work its way up.

Posted on June 29, 2020

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 29, 2020)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com