Netanyahu ally says Israel hasn’t adopted Trump plan, only parts of it | World Defense

Netanyahu ally says Israel hasn’t adopted Trump plan, only parts of it

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Netanyahu ally says Israel hasn’t adopted Trump plan, only parts of it

Yuval Steinitz urges right-wing critics of peace proposal not to ‘squander historic opportunity’ to annex portions of West Bank, calls criticism ‘foolishness’

A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said Thursday that the Israeli government has not adopted US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace, indicating that Jerusalem could be planning to accept only the parts that favor Israel, such as annexation of areas of the West Bank, and not others, such as the recognition of a future Palestinian state.

“We didn’t announce that we’re adopting the Trump plan, but rather parts of it, including the part that lets us extend Israeli law to settlements and the Jordan Valley,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, amid growing complaints on the right against the founding of a Palestinian state, which under the proposal would come after Israel is allowed to annex portions of the West Bank.

“This is the best peace plan for us that the United States has ever put on the table,” he said in response to the criticism. “For us to say that we won’t take the sovereignty because it doesn’t give us everything is foolishness. To say that Trump is no friend of Israel is doubly foolish. It is very unwise and could lead to the squandering of a historic opportunity.”

“Of course, as long as the Palestinians don’t accept the plan and won’t even negotiate on its basis, we are definitely not endorsing it ahead of time — not all of its parts,” Steinitz said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks during a press conference with US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House on January 28, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)

Speaking alongside Trump earlier this year as Washington unveiled the peace plan, Netanyahu did not explicitly say that he accepted the plan in its entirety, though he praised it throughout, and implied his acceptance of the terms of the deal and his commitment to fulfill all the demands made of Israel.

“Mr. President, your deal of the century is the opportunity of the century. And rest assured Israel will not miss this opportunity,” he said at the time.

Some politicians and top settler leaders have publicly come out against the US plan in recent days, led by Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani, who told the Haaretz daily Wednesday that Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner have shown through their peace proposal that “they are not friends of the State of Israel.”

While he conceded there was no doubt that Trump has “done wonderful things for Israel,” such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and acting against the Iranians, the establishment of a Palestinian state is, Elhayani said, unacceptable.

If Trump wants to establish a Palestinian state near the heart of Israel, between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, he said, addressing the US president, “then you are not a friend.”

Such a state, he stressed, “is a danger to Israel.”

Elhayani warned that as soon as Israel extended sovereignty to some areas it would effectively be recognizing the borders of a future Palestinian state, and that Washington intended to build on that development to implement the rest of the peace plan.

“It is a plan for division [of the territory],” he said.
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