Middle East Monitor / January 31, 2020
A senior Israeli official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed reports of disagreements between the US and Israeli governments over the application of the Trump plan, claiming that the only diversion relates to the timetable for annexation of West Bank territory.
According to right-wing news outlet Arutz Sheva, “the senior official said that the disagreement centred around technical issues only”, since both sides “had fundamentally agreed” that Israel will annex roughly 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including all settlements.
“We’ve been working on this for three years,” the official said. “That’s not three meetings – but hundreds of hours to try to advance this – a deal which is good for the State of Israel.”
“What has been agreed upon is a huge thing, recognition by an American president of the Israeli right to sovereignty [i.e. annexation] in the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea, and the Jewish towns [settlements]” in the West Bank, the official continued.
“That’s been achieved, there’s no argument about it, and it’s going to happen.”
According to Arutz Sheva, the official continued that “the only disagreement which remains between Israel and the Trump administration is whether to carry out the application of sovereignty in one step, or whether Israel should apply sovereignty in stages.”
“The problem is a simple technical one,” the official said. “The question is a simple one. The Americans are saying that the president announced the right to sovereignty, but the action needs to happen, according to them, not in stages.”
“We, on the other hand, want to break it up into stages, so that we can advance it as quickly as possible. We agree on everything, there isn’t any real disagreement,” the official added.
Another Netanyahu aide said Israel would have to run any annexation steps by the US.
“There can be no application of law [Israel] can carry out without having the Americans look at the map first. We will show it to them, they’ll look and see that we aren’t violating what has been decided, and then we can move forward.”