US Conditions 'Palestinian State' to Green Light Annexation
The US peace team, headed by special Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, sent to the Israeli government a number of demands and conditions for the US administration to green-light the annexation parts of the West Bank and impose Israeli law on it, according to political sources in Tel Aviv.
US officials called for canceling demolition orders on Palestinian homes built without a permit, and transfer part of Area C, subject to Israel's administrative and security control, to Area B, under Israel’s security control and Palestine’s administrative control.
Meanwhile, the US administration has demanded a four-year freeze on settlement construction in remote settlements, which are supposed to be evacuated or made enclaves inside the borders of the future Palestinian state.
Israeli broadcasting agency, KAN-11, published the demands which also included allowing Palestinian construction projects in Areas B and C in the West Bank which constitute thousands of housing units.
The channel reported that a series of new meetings between US and Israeli officials to discuss annexation was held over the past few days, and it was agreed that annexation would be 15 percent of the West Bank instead of the 30 percent that was proposed in the original plan.
During the talks, the White House conditioned a state of political stability in Israel to support the annexation plan and abandon calls for new elections.
US officials explicitly asked the Israeli government to accept the "Trump plan" in full, including agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and 70 percent of the West Bank.
Sources indicated that the US officials were surprised by the disagreements in the Israeli government and discussion of new elections, knowing that Israel witnessed three electoral battles in less than a year.
They demanded the Israeli government take decisions on the annexation unanimously between the Likud headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chaired by Benny Gantz, regardless of their electoral promises.
The channel quoted Likud officials as saying that Netanyahu insisted on proceeding with the annexation plans through the current government, without declaring acceptance of the Palestinian state.
Netanyahu is relying on the disagreements in the US administration between Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Kushner wants to implement the "deal of the century" in agreement with Arab countries and is accused of obstructing the implementation of the annexation plan so far, while Friedman supports a quick and unilateral annexation, claiming it would help Trump in his election campaign.
Meanwhile, a number of Israeli parties voiced their opposition to the annexation, especially after the security leaders said they were against the plan and warned it will be faced with a violent Palestinian reaction which could result in new conditions.
This position is adopted by the alternate prime minister and security minister which is also preventing the Israeli government from approving its laws.
Gantz wants to use the clause that gives him equal powers with the prime minister to discuss or reject items on the government's agenda, in reference to the annexation plan that will not be submitted for implementation without his approval.