After Trump-Netanyahu Meeting: New Push to Annex West Bank Settlement

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An Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim.
An Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim.Credit: AP

The explosive proposal to annex Ma'aleh Adumim, a West Bank settlement east of Jerusalem, is expected to be submitted to the Ministerial Legislation Committee on Sunday, after numerous delays.

The controversial bill's sponsor, MK Yoav Kish (Likud), asked to submit it to the vote several weeks ago, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused, reluctant to surprise the new U.S. President Donald Trump just before their first meeting.

Now Kish intends to force the ministers to discuss the proposal, in a bid to bring it to the Knesset vote in the next few weeks.

The bill calls for applying Israeli law to Ma'aleh Adumim, and, as a result, to annex it to the disputed E1 area, which has been added to the town's municipal area in the past.

"It's possible that as part of a compromise we'll agree to pass the bill without [the] E1 [clause]," Kish told Haaretz. "I don't want someone to say he won't join the process because [it means Israeli] sovereignty will apply to E1."

The area in question is 12 square kilometers northwest of Ma'aleh Adumim. The international community, especially the American administrations, have objected to its annexation as it will cut the north of the West Bank' from its south and make it impossible to establish a Palestinian state on the area.

Consequently, all the construction plans for this area have been delayed for diplomatic and political reasons since 2005.

Ma'aleh Adumim mayor Benny Kashriel launched a campaign intended Wednesday to pressure the ministers to support the legislation to annex the town. Kashriel and youths have given out the telephone numbers of members of the key legislative committee to passersby, urging them to text the ministers and ask them to "vote for sovereignty in Ma'aleh Adumim."

"There's no such thing as the right timing and I expect the prime minister and ministers to approve the proposal on Sunday," Kashriel said.

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