Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Palestinians residing in the Jordan Valley would not be granted Israeli citizenship after the region is annexed by Israel, but will remain citizens of a future Palestinian entity.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom daily, Netanyahu said “They will remain as a Palestinian enclave. There’s no need to annex Jericho. There are one or two clusters. You don’t need to impose sovereignty over them, they will remain Palestinian subjects if you want. But there will be security control over this too.”
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Until now, Netanyahu had not provided details as to the fate of over 50,000 Palestinians living in areas of the West Bank that will be annexed to Israel, and whether they will become Israeli nationals as part of the process.
In addition, Netanyahu addressed criticism from the right wing, who argue that adopting the Trump administration’s Middle East plan will lead to the formation of a Palestinian state.
“All the plans offered to us in the past included renouncing parts of Israel, withdrawing to the 1967 borders and dividing Jerusalem while allowing refugees to enter Israel. This plan offers the opposite. We are not the ones required to give up [territories], the Palestinians are,” Netanyahu told Israel Hayom.
The Palestinians “have to recognize that we are the ones dictating security rules over the entire territory. If they agree to all of this, then they will have their own entity that President Trump defines as a state.” Netanyahu added that an American diplomat told him “’it won’t be a state,’” to which he replied “’call it whatever you want.’”
At the same time, the United States issued a warning Thursday to its citizens advising them against travelling to the West Bank for fear that declarations of annexation will trigger violence in the region.
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Last week, Netanyahu said during a Likud faction meeting that he had set July 1 as a starting date for cabinet discussions on annexing the West Bank, adding that "we don't intend to change" the deadline.
The premier added that "It is a big opportunity and we will not let it pass by.” According to the coalition agreement signed between Likud and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, Netanyahu can bring the agreement reached with the United States on the matter of applying sovereignty for a cabinet and/or Knesset discussion as of July 1.
Following recent developments, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced last week that the Palestinian Authority is ending all its agreements with Israel and the United States, including security coordination.