The former chief of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Gadi Eisenkot, warned that the West Bank is "sensitive and volatile" and could "ignite before, during, or after" the presentation of the US "deal". Eisenkot has called on Washington to factor in such a reaction when developing the peace plan.
"From the moment this genie is let out of the bottle, it will take five years to put it back", the ex-IDF head said.
To stabilise the "situation on the ground", Eisenkot suggested that Washington resume its assistance to the Palestinian Authority's security forces and assist it in its economic situation and with its infrastructure.
His words came on the same day as a report by Israeli Channel 12 that the "deal of the century", prepared by Donald Trump's team and aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will include a provision on recognising Tel Aviv's authority over West Bank settlements. The deal will allegedly allow Israel to extend its civil laws to the territories, which are currently considered occupied. At the same time, Palestinian cities will remain under the control of the Palestinian Authority according to the deal, the TV channel added.
Neither Israeli nor US officials have commented on the report yet, but senior adviser to the US president and special US envoy Jason Greenblatt earlier called on the public to ignore media "leaks" of the deal's provisions.
One of the largest alleged "leaks" was published by the newspaper Israel Hayom, saying that the deal would propose the creation of a new state called "New Palestine" in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with a 30-metre high "bridge" connecting the two. The new state would reportedly not have a military, but would be instead protected from external threats by Israel. The alleged deal also acknowledged Israeli sovereignty over the settlements, but would enable both states to have Jerusalem as their capital.
The "deal of the century", earlier announced by US President Trump, is supposed to provide a long-term resolution for the longstanding Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and is expected to be revealed in June — although several media outlets already leaked some of its alleged provisions.
The deal is expected to be negatively received by some Palestinians, as Hamas said that it does not trust the US to function as a mediator in the conflict after Washington recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Trump, in turn, has stated that both sides will have to make concessions as part of the deal.
The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis began with the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. The struggle has led to several full-scale wars between Israel and its Arab neighbours. No wars are currently being waged against Israel, but the country regularly reports being attacked by rockets from Hamas launched from the Gaza Strip.