Netanyahu: I Told Trump I Wouldn't Agree to Evacuate Even a Single Settler From West Bank

Asked if he expects Trump to recognize West Bank as Israeli territory, prime minister says 'wait for the next term'

President Donald Trump smiles at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after signing a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights at the White House. March 25, 2019
Susan Walsh,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told U.S. President Donald Trump that he is unwilling to see even a single Jewish settler being evacuated from the West Bank, he said Friday.

"All the settlements – blocs and not blocs – must remain under Israeli sovereignty," Netanyahu told Channel 13 News.

Asked whether he expects Trump to recognize the West Bank as being under Israeli sovereignty, as he did with the Golan Heights, Netanyahu said: "Wait until the next term."

>> Benjamin Netanyahu, the undertaker of the two-state solution | Analysis ■ How many settlers need to be evacuated to make way for a Palestinian state

In an interview published in the Yisrael Hayom daily on Friday, Netanyahu said of Trump's yet to be released peace plan: "There are three conditions that I hope will appear in the 'deal of the century': No settler is uprooted, controlling territory west of Jordan, and no dividing Jerusalem. I told Trump, Kushner and Greenblatt that I will never back down from these conditions."

Regarding Israel's policy on Hamas, Netanyahu said: The connection between Gaza and Judea and Samara has been severed. These are two separate entities, and I think that over time, this is not a bad thing for Israel. This was brought about by Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) himself. He restricted the transfer of funds. He thought doing this would set Gaza ablaze."

The peace plan, put together by Trump's son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, has a strong "regional context" behind it, according to a senior White House official who spoke to Haaretz in February. 

Kushner has only given a broad outline of the plan, saying it would address final-status issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including establishing borders.