- Israel is looking to annex the West Bank in July.
- The US and Israeli governments are still mapping out the settlements.
- Netanyahu has addressed concerns about a potential fallout with the international community.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clarified that Palestinians residing in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley won’t get Israeli citizenship after annexation. Speaking to the Makor Rishon newspaper on Thursday, the prime minister said that the whole area will be under the control of the Israeli military forces, and there will be no special privileges for Palestinians residing there.
He said this in response to a question on how Israel intends to quell uprisings by distraught Palestinians. He has also said that construction in the region will be halted for several years. The rule will apply for both Palestinians and Israelis.
The US and Israeli governments are currently mapping out settlement zones in the West Bank. Netanyahu is looking to annex the area while the Trump administration, which is sympathetic to the Israeli course, is still in government. Israel is set to expropriate the West Bank area in July. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has made it clear that the annexation is illegal, and infringes upon the rights of Palestinians.
Netanyahu has stressed that it is not Palestine that is compromising to accommodate Israel but vice-versa. In his view, Israel is the party that is giving up territory that came under its influence following the 1967 Six Day War stating:
“Thus far Israel was always the one that had to compromise, give up and withdraw. That was the basic idea of every peace deal we were handed. Now President Trump and his people come and change the direction. They say Israel doesn’t need to compromise, the Palestinians do.”
Netanyahu has addressed concerns about a potential fallout with the international community once the country goes ahead with the annexation plan. Jordan has already threatened to downgrade its peace deal with Israel. The EU and the International Criminal Court are also looking to launch a probe into the prime minister’s misconduct if he takes over the sovereign territory.
Netanyahu has lambasted the international court as an archaic organization, which has been reduced to fabricating cases against Israeli soldiers and the government. He has dismissed concerns related to Jordan, and said that the neighboring state is unlikely to make any retaliatory moves.
EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have called on Netanyahu to shelve the annexation plans, which will see large parts of “Judea and Samaria,” as well as the Jordan Valley, brought under subjugation. The statement issued by Macron reads in part as follows:
“I ask you, in a spirit of friendship, that your new government not take unilateral action [in the West Bank]. Such a move would destabilize the Middle East. Only dialogue with the Palestinians and a just and balanced solution will provide Israel with peace, security and stability.”