With the Israeli cabinet set to discuss a bill for the de-facto annexation of some of the largest West Bank settlements to Israel, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on President Trump to immediately intervene and warn Prime Minister Netanyahu that the United States will block such a move.
According to Israeli news reports, Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected this coming Sunday to discuss a bill calling for the incorporation into Jerusalem of a collection of large settlements in the heart of the West Bank. The bill’s authors are presenting it as an “annexation bill.”
The Ministerial Committee's discussion of a bill typically takes place days prior to the Cabinet’s introduction of the bill to the Knesset. Bills endorsed by the Cabinet are almost always passed by the Knesset.
The bill calls for expanding Jerusalem’s jurisdiction to include the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev, as well as the local councils of Gush Etzion, Beitar Illit and Efrat. These settlements, among the largest in the West Bank, would function as sub-municipalities of Jerusalem. A map prepared by Israel’s Peace Now movement illustrates the dramatic impact of such a development.
The bill is vague as to whether the settlements’ annexation to Jerusalem would also mean fully extending Israeli law to these settlements and annexing them de jure to Israel. Regardless, the significance of the bill is a de facto annexation of these settlements to Israel, unilaterally, without negotiations and in violation of long-held Israeli and US policy.
APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “Settlement annexation could kill the two-state solution. That is why US administrations, Democratic and Republican, opposed it, and why Israeli governments avoided it. President Trump has justifiably criticized Netanyahu’s settlement policy and called on him to curb it. If Trump now allows the annexation of settlements, he will condemn Israelis and Palestinians to perpetual conflict and bloodshed, and become a partner in turning Israel into an international pariah, a state that is neither ethically Jewish nor a democracy. It’s time for Trump to get serious on Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
For commentary by Peace Now and a link to the text of the bill (Hebrew), click here.