Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-29-2020

News Update

At a press conference with PM Netanyahu yesterday, President Trump revealed his 80 page peace plan. The plan recognizes Israel’s West Bank settlements and calls for a 4 year freeze in construction while details of a Palestinian state are negotiated. The plan provides for a demilitarized Palestinian state in Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, including twice as much land as the Palestinians currently control.

The Palestinian area, not all contiguous, would be connected by a series of tunnels, roads and bridges. For example, the West Bank would be connected to Gaza via a tunnel running through Israeli territory.

The Palestinians would also have their capital in the Abu Dis neighborhood, which is technically within the boundaries of Jerusalem. The plan also provides the Palestinians with around $50 billion of economic incentives.

Trump revealed the plan to both Netanyahu and Gantz in separate private meetings on Monday. Gantz and his Blue and White party enthusiastically are backing the plan. The Palestinians have categorically rejected the plan. [they apparently don’t believe in negotiating]

Part of the plan called for the possibility of land swaps, which could include transferring 10 major Arab cities and towns currently in Israel to Palestinian control. The towns include Kafr Kara, Arara, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Umm al-Fahm, Kalanswa, Taibeh, Kafr Qasem, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia. The mayors of these towns and other officials have condemned the plan, even though it would not require them to move. Only the borders would be redrawn. So apparently, Israeli Arabs are not so keen on being part an independent Palestinian state, and would rather remain Israeli citizens.

Here is the Trump plan map:

peace plan

The United Arab Emirates embassy in Washington released a statement saying, “The plan announced today offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework,” and that the UAE, “appreciates continued US efforts to reach a Palestine-Israel peace agreement. This plan is a serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years.”

PM Netanyahu said yesterday that he intends to bring a proposal for applying Israeli jurisdiction to the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the West Bank settlements to a cabinet vote “presumably on Sunday.” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said after Trump’s announcement that Israel can “annex settlements at any time.” He told reporters at the White House that “Israel should not wait at all for annexation of the settlements.” However, senior Likud officials said today that the cabinet vote will not happen, for technical reasons.

According to government statistics, the population of West Bank settlements rose to 463,353 people as of Jan. 1, up 3.1% from 449,508 a year earlier. This does not include over 300,000 Israelis living in areas of east Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday filed an indictment against PM Netanyahu at Jerusalem District Court, on three separate charges of corruption. This is the first time in Israel’s 71-year history that a sitting prime minister has been indicted.