TEL AVIV – The rightwing Knesset Land of Israel caucus announced its intention to draw up a bill for the annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim, citing a poll showing that 78 percent of Israelis are in favor of full Israeli sovereignty over the settlement.
The news comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he is ready to negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinians based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Arab Peace Initiative, which was first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, promises normalized relations between Arab countries and Israel in exchange for a complete withdrawal by Israel to pre-1967 lines. Even though Ma’aleh Adumim is beyond the pre-1967 lines, most proposals for a two-state solution are based on the understanding that the city-sized settlement will be given to Israel in the event of land swaps.
But MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) submitted a bill to apply Israeli law to Ma’aleh Adumim, effectively annexing the settlement to Israel as was the case with the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in 1967 and 1981 respectively.
Currently Ma’ale Adumim is under the GOC Central Command. The laws which are applied there comprise an amalgamation of Ottoman, British, and Jordanian roots with some international and Israeli law applied as well.
A poll from research institute Midgam found that 77.9% of Jewish Israelis think Israel should apply sovereignty to Ma’aleh Adumim even if there is no agreement with the Palestinians.
A further 70.4% said the move would be worthwhile even if it attracts significant backlash from the international community.
Only 34.5% said it would be more advisable to wait for an agreement with the Palestinians before going ahead with the move.
88% of those polled said residents of Ma’aleh Adumim deserve the same rights as all other Israeli citizens.
The poll was conducted by a representative sample of 500 Jewish Israeli adults, and has a margin of error of 4.4%.
Smotrich, who ordered the poll, said it shows that “the people of Israel know what is good for them, and most of the nation on the Right and Left support applying Israeli sovereignty to Ma’aleh Adumim. … Mr. Prime Minister, you’ve run out of excuses; it’s time for sovereignty.”
“Ma’aleh Adumim is part of the public consensus as an inseparable part of Israel and is part of the political consensus on Right and Left,” the Land of Israel Caucus statement reads. “It is clear that Ma’aleh Adumim will remain part of Israeli territory in any future agreement.”