The Palestine Chronicle / May 28, 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, which Israel plans to annex in coming weeks, will not be granted Israeli citizenship after annexation, but will remain part of the “Palestinian enclave”.
Netanyahu, who is insisting that the illegal annexation of the Jordan Valley and much of the occupied West Bank will go on as planned, made these remarks in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper.
“They will remain as a Palestinian enclave. There’s no need to annex Jericho. There are one or two clusters. You don’t need to impose sovereignty over them, they will remain Palestinian subjects if you want. But there will be security control over this too,” Netanyahu said.
This is the first time that Netanyahu publicly addresses in some detail the fate of over 50,000 Palestinians living in parts of the occupied West Bank that Israel has slated for annexation as early as July.
Despite the fact that Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century has been strongly criticized by the international community for failing to respect international law and Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own, some in the Israeli right camp are still unhappy.
Many Israelis, including some in Netanyahu’s own Likud party, reject the ‘Deal of the Century’ for suggesting that a Palestinian state is still possible under certain circumstances.
In the interview, Netanyahu strongly defended the American ‘peace plan’, for offering Israel an unprecedented deal.
“All the plans offered to us in the past included renouncing parts of Israel, withdrawing to the 1967 borders and dividing Jerusalem while allowing refugees to enter Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding that, “this plan offers the opposite. We are not the ones required to give up [territories], the Palestinians are.”
“(The Palestinians) have to recognize that we are the ones dictating security rules over the entire territory. If they agree to all of this, then they will have their own entity that President Trump defines as a state,” Netanyahu also said.
According to the Israeli Prime Minister, a US diplomat had assured him that “it won’t be a state” – as in Palestinians will not be granted a state on their own – to which he replied, “call it whatever you want.”
On April 20, Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement that included a clause to advance plans to annex parts of the West Bank, estimated at 30% of the total territory, as early as July 1.On May 25, Netanyahu renewed his annexation pledge.
Palestinians have expressed outrage, appealing to the international community to block the Israeli step, which, if implemented, would be considered the final nail in the two-state solution coffin.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on May 19 that the PA is cancelling all agreements with Israel and the US, as a direct response to Israel’s annexation plans.