Netanyahu Seeks Israeli Sovereignty Over All Jewish Communities in Yesha

YERUSHALAYIM -
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Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister office on Sunday. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly told the Trump administration that Israel expects to retain sovereignty not only over the major Jewish population blocs in Yehudah and Shomron (Yesha), but the enclaves outside those blocs as well, in any future peace settlement.

Previously, in talks with the Obama administration over its 2014 “framework document,” Netanyahu had stipulated only that Jewish residents in the region would not be uprooted, but would have to live under “Palestinian jurisdiction.” The discussions with officials in the current administration appear to change that, according to a report Sunday in Haaretz.

Netanyahu has raised the issue with several American officials, most recently U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit to Israel last week.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely who attended the meeting with Haley, was quoted as saying that Netanyahu cited the case of the border area of Netherlands and Belgium, where each country maintains small enclaves in the other’s territory.

Last Tuesday, in a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, when Israel gained control over Yehudah and Shomron, Netanyahu pledged that Jewish residents will not be evacuated in any future agreement with the Palestinians.

“Everyone will have a right to live in their home, and no one will be uprooted,” the prime minister declared.

A significant minority of the estimated 450,000 Jews living over the Green Line reside in towns and cities outside the main blocs.

The Palestinians have objected to leaving Israeli enclaves in their future state. During the 2014 talks, they insisted that Jews who remain behind will become Palestinians citizens, and their communities will become “non-exclusive,” i.e., open to Palestinians.

Last week, however, the Palestinians took a less egalitarian position, as a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said their state will not have “any settlers or settlements.” Not of the Jewish kind, that is.