Netanyahu Vows to Annex All Israeli Settlements on July 1
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with annexing all Jewish communities in the West Bank on July 1, the earliest date allowed according to his coalition agreement with Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz. He nevertheless reportedly told leaders of Israel’s settlement movement that the government was unlikely for the time being to apply sovereignty over other areas in the contested territory, including the Jordan Valley. While the postponement has been attributed to delays in the work of a joint US-Israel committee set up to map out the exact regions of the West Bank that would be incorporated into Israel, some believe that Netanyahu is taking into account the potential international fallout from implementing the entire project in one shot. This reportedly includes real concerns that Jordanian ruler Abdullah II could cancel the Hashemite Kingdom’s landmark 1994 peace treaty with the Jewish state. The 132 settlements in question are home to about 450,000 Israelis and together take up about 3% of the West Bank, far less than the 30% that the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan envisions being annexed by Israel. It comes on the backdrop of a push by the Palestinian Authority to hold a vote in the UN General Assembly to censure Jerusalem over the prospective initiative.