Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will likely work to implement sovereignty in Yehudah and Shomron between July and September, according to a report by Yisrael Hayom on Wednesday.
According to the report, which cited unnamed diplomatic officials involved with the planning, the government will not likely continue implementation of Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan after the summer, with the goal of applying Israeli law over roughly 30% of Yehudah and Shomron by sometime in September.
Applying Israeli law in these areas, the officials explained, would have numerous and far-reaching implications. Being that the coalition deal between the Likud and Blue and White allows the earliest date for the matter to be presented for a vote on July 1, and due to the fact that the groundwork is still being completed, the intention is to implement the historic initiative over the summer months and no later than September. Netanyahu said two weeks ago at the Likud faction meeting that the target date for applying sovereignty is July 1.
The Palestinians said Tuesday they proposed a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem with one-to-one land exchanges with Israel as a counter-offer to President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh declined to provide further details about the 4-½-page proposal but said the Palestinian position on major issues is well-known. He said the plan was submitted in recent days to the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.S., the U.N., the European Union and Russia.
The Trump administration has chastised the Palestinians for rejecting its plan, which sides with Israel on all the most contentious issues in the decades-old conflict.
The Palestinians have responded to the threat of annexation by cutting all ties with Israel, including security coordination, and saying they are no longer bound by agreements going back to the early 1990s. They are also seeking to rally international support against annexation, hoping to pressure Netanyahu to back down.
Key Arab nations, including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, have condemned the annexation plan.
Shtayyeh told reporters that annexation is an “existential threat” that would mark the “total erosion of our national aspirations.”
Shtayyeh said their state would be a “demilitarized state” and that the Palestinians would accept “minor border modification” and the exchange of territory equivalent “in size, in volume and in value.”
He said the Palestinian leadership would not give in to Israeli demands that they resume contacts in order to facilitate the monthly transfer of some $150 million in taxes and customs that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians. That’s a crucial source of income for the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of Yehudah and Shomron.
Shtayyeh said Israel could continue to make the transfers without any direct contacts. He said if the transfers do not go through, the PA will be unable to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of civil servants and security forces starting this month.
“Our people are ready for sacrifices,” Shtayyeh said. “We are not ready to accept any blackmail. The issue here is not money for politics.”
He said the Palestinian Authority would continue to issue medical permits and help with the expenses of Palestinians who require treatment in Israel. He also said the PA would continue to “support our people in Gaza in every single way possible.”
Also on Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited IDF units in Yehudah and Shomron to assess the army’s readiness in the sector. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan, and other senior officers joined Gantz on his tour. Gantz also met with the heads of local authorities in Yehudah and Shomron to hear their positions on the sovereignty matter and other day-to-day issues.