Rightwing MKs: Trump’s ‘Ultimate Deal’ a Non-Starter

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MKs on the right and left responded to a report that the United States was set to present a framework for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that entailed the establishment of a Palestinian state, without the removal of Jews from towns in Yehudah and Shomron. MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said that “it is important to emphasize at this early stage that Israel will not agree in any way to the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, and/or the transfer of more land to the Palestinians. This plan sounds like another version of the Oslo Accords, and it will meet serious resistance among MKs.”

With that, Channel Two reported Motzoei Shabbos that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been discussing the plan with ministers in recent weeks, and has called it “likely the best deal that Israel will get,” while emphasizing the friendship of the Trump administration for Israel. “Israel,” Netanyahu has reportedly told ministers, “cannot say no to this deal.”

The “ultimate deal” to solve the Middle Eastern crisis involves the establishment of a Palestinian state to handle the civil affairs of Arabs in Yehudah and Shomron. The Palestinian state will have a local security force, but the IDF will be in charge of security, with Israeli soldiers remaining in the Jordan Valley. No Israelis will be evacuated from towns in Yehudah and Shomron, although their status within the Palestinian state has yet to be determined. The new state will be supported by large cash infusions, mostly from the United States and Saudi Arabia, in order to get its economy off the ground. The fate of Yerushalayim will not be discussed at this time. The U.S. hopes to get the support of moderate Sunni Arab nations for the plan, and is working to organize a regional summit.

The report quoted American officials as saying that they were “in the midst of productive dialogue with all relevant parties, and we are approaching the issue differently than has been done in the past in order to achieve a lasting peace. We have no artificial deadline for completion of this process.”

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said that his National Union faction, a part of Jewish Home, would not support the plan either. “We will not sit in a government that recognizes a Palestinian state, under any conditions,” Ariel said. Zionist Camp MK Amir Peretz said that he, too, was opposed to the plan, but for different reasons. “The State of Israel is responsible for advancing a peace process to separate the two peoples. Without connection to the Trump administration, this separation is in the interests of Israel from a security, economic and Zionist perspective. When Israel does not act, the Americans take control of the process, and we have to guess at what is going to happen.”

In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said that it disputed the Channel Two report. “The report is not correct. The prime minister has not accepted any plans, and Israel’s response will be based on whether a plan provides for Israel’s security and national interests.”