Netanyahu: U.S. Kept Me from Applying Israeli Sovereignty over West Bank

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 23: (ISRAEL OUT) In this handout photo provided by the Israel Gove
Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly acknowledged the U.S. was the reason he has failed to carry out his plans to apply Israeli law over parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

“It was clear from the start that applying sovereignty would be done only with agreement from the United States. Otherwise, I would have already done it a while ago,” Netanyahu revealed during an interview with Israel’s Channel 20.

“Trump is now busy with other things, and this [issue of annexation] is not on the top of his mind,” Netanyahu said.

“I hope that in the near future we will be able to advance recognition of sovereignty as well as other diplomatic issues of importance to Israel,” he added.

He stressed his efforts behind the Trump administration’s decisions to transfer the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; its recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; and its declaration that West Bank settlements are not illegal.

“All of that didn’t happen by accident,” Netanyahu said.

According to Netanyahu, Trump’s peace plan, which sees Israel annexing over 30 percent of the West Bank, is the only American proposal that safeguards Israel’s security.

“I worked with Trump’s team on this plan for three years,” he said. “In my opinion, it is the only one that preserves Israel’s essential interests.”

The Trump administration’s peace team, including Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz and Scott Leith of the National Security Council, visited Israel at the end of June for the purposes of working on the mapping and other aspects of the peace plan’s implementation.

They met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as well as Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz.

Berkowitz and Leith subsequently presented the findings from the trip to Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner but have still not met with Trump on the matter.

According to an Israeli TV report at the time of Berkowitz’s trip, the Trump administration was pushing Israel to offer the Palestinians some kind of gesture — including the possibility of a reshuffle of land categorizations of Areas B and C — in exchange for applying Israeli law to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.


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