01:37 GMT26 May 2020
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    Now that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has formed a unity government with his previous rival, Benny Gantz, the world waits with bated breath for the two to act on their pledge to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

    The United States’ Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has announced that the Trump Administration is ready to recognise Israel’s sovereignty of 30% of the West Bank, according to Israel Hayom.

    In the interview, Mr Friedman said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be prepared to enter negotiations with Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas over the creating of a Palestinian state .

    “The primary task belongs to the Israeli side because they're the ones that have to come up with what's best for the state of Israel. The overriding requirement [is] that the Israeli portion of area C will not exceed 50% of area C [which], 30% of the West Bank,” Mr Friedman said.

    As per the Oslo II Accord signed in 1995, negotiated between then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat under the auspices of US President Bill Clinton, Area C was to constitute 61% of the West Bank and would be “gradually transferred to Palestinian Jurisdiction.”

    Ambassador Friedman also suggested a timeframe for the move, saying that “everyone understands that come July, certainly, people on the Israeli side, want to be ready to go on 1 July.”

    “The mapping has to get done. The [Israeli] government has to agree to the freeze on half of Area C, and most importantly, the government of Israel has to declare sovereignty. We [the US] are not declaring sovereignty - the government of Israel has to declare sovereignty. And then we’re prepared to recognise it along those lines… so you have to go first” Mr Friedman added.

     

    For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu has emphatically welcomed the move. At the end of April, he declared that he feels "confident" that he will be able to assert sovereignty over coveted parts of the Jordan Valley and the West Bank - namely those areas that are made up of Jewish settlements. Netanyahu said that he was aiming to do so "a few months from now," which would line up with Ambassador Friedman's suggestion this week that Israel will take over the areas by July. 

    "For decades, I have been fighting those who sought to deny the millennial connection of the Jewish people to our homeland. I'm proud to say that the decades-long struggle has borne fruit. Three months ago, the Trump peace plan recognised Israel's rights in all of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. And President Trump pledged to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley," The Times of Israel quoted Mr Netanyahu as saying in late April. 

    President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - dubbed the deal of the century - was revealed to the world on 28 January 2020. While many within Israel embraced the plan, the Palestinian leadership outright rejected it. The head of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the, “change of America’s position vis-vis the Palestinians” and its “disregard for historic U.N. resolutions… do not help the cause of peace.”

     

    Tags:
    Deal of the century, West Bank, Israeli occupation, Israel
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