TEL AVIV – On the heels of President Donald Trump’s unveiled peace plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would make a decision regarding the annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements as early as Sunday.
Israel would “apply its laws to the Jordan Valley and all settlements in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said, indicating that he would not wait for a peace deal to be signed.
Trump’s plan, he said, was “good for Israel and good for peace.”
The U.S. administration’s plan was “puncturing [the] big lie” that Israel is illegally occupying the historic homeland of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said.
“You are recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all the Jewish communities, large and small alike,” he said.
“Israeli law would be applied in two stages,” Netanyahu said. “First I will bring the issue up at [Sunday’s cabinet] meeting for the government to green-light a decision applying Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and the settlements.”
The next stage would see Israel working with the U.S. to apply Israeli law on further territories, he said.
“After Israeli law is applied, all restrictions on construction and other issues that previously required US approval will no longer be in place,” he said.
“Most of the illegal outposts are in areas that will remain in Israel. Israel will continue to control security in all areas of the West Bank,” the prime minister added.
“The Palestinians will not have an airport,” he said. “Control of all border crossings will continue to be under Israel.
“U.S. recognition [over the West Bank settlements, Jordan Valley] will prevent international sanctions against Israel over annexation,” he said.
Earlier, Netanyahu promised Trump that Israel would not construct new homes “in areas that your plan does not designate as being part of Israel in the future.”
“Israel will preserve the possibility for peace,” he added.
“At the same time Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the United States has agreed to recognize as part of Israel.”
Trump’s plan would see the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state on most of the West Bank.
“Jerusalem will remain Israel’s undivided capital,” Trump said, but later added that parts of “eastern Jerusalem” would be the capital of the Palestinian state. The Palestinians would get peripheral neighborhoods in Jerusalem that are already outside the Israeli security fence, namely Kfar Aqab, Abu Dis and some of Shuafat.
The U.S. would “work to create a territory for a contiguous Palestinian state in the future” that would “reject terrorism,” he said.
The flashpoint holy site of the Temple Mount would remain under the current status quo overseen by Jordan’s Islamic Waqf. Israel would continue working with the Jordanians to allow Muslim prayer at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
“This vision for peace is fundamentally different from past diplomacies,” Trump said. “Even the most well-intentioned plans were light on factual details and heavy on conceptual framework.”
He added that the 80-page long plan is “the most detailed proposal ever.”
It would “do a lot for the Palestinians or it just wouldn’t be fair,” he said.
The plan sees borders for a future Palestinian state that would see Israel making “territorial sacrifices for the sake of peace,” he said.
The proposal “more than doubles Palestinian territory,” he said.
“No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes,” he said.
He added that the contiguous Palestinian state would be established such that it “resolves the risk to Israel’s security” and the risk of terror attacks.
“We will never ask Israel to compromise its security,” he said.
Some $50 billion would be infused into the new Palestinian state, he said. His proposal would see an “end the cycle of Palestinian dependence on charity,” Trump said.
Trump said he was “saddened by the fate of the Palestinian people. They deserve a far better life — they deserve a chance to achieve their extraordinary potential.”
“We will be there every step of the way. It will work. If they do it, it’ll work,” he said.