Eisenkot Warns Peace Plan Could Ignite Palestinians

YERUSHALAYIM -
Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott. (FLASH90)

Speculation about the contents of the American Mideast peace plan, and worries over violent Palestinian reaction, persisted on Sunday.

The plan will include recognition of Israeli blocs in Yehudah and Shomron, including areas claimed unilaterally by Israel, according to a Channel 12 report. On the eve of elections, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised to extend Israeli law to parts of Yehudah and Shomron if reelected.

The report—as yet unconfirmed by U.S. officials—was immediately seized upon by the Israeli right-wing.

Yisrael Gantz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, said, “We must not miss this historic opportunity which is unlikely to return. The first step of the new Netanyahu government must be a declaration of Israeli sovereignty over all areas of settlement in Judea and Samaria. If not now, then when?”

Yochai Damari, head of the Har Chevron Regional Council, Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, issued similar statements, calling on Netanyahu to act during the “window of the opportunity.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday night a report surfaced that former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot told White House envoy Jason Greenblatt that such proposals could set off an explosion.

“The situation in the West Bank is sensitive and volatile,” Eisenkot was quoted saying by Channel 13, citing the precarious economic situation there.

“The West Bank is likely to ignite before, during, or after the presentation of the American peace plan. You must factor this into your considerations,” Eisenkot continued. “From the moment this genie is let out of the bottle, it will take five years to put it back.”

The meeting between Eisenkot and Greenblatt reportedly took place last Tuesday in Washington, with Mideast experts, including some from previous administrations, attending.

Eisenkot argued for restoring U.S. assistance to the PA security forces, improving economic conditions for Palestinians and helping education and infrastructure.