Sovereignty Day is here - but talks between Israel and the US continue on sovereignty plan

What will Israel's sovereignty plan look like - and when will it be implemented? Questions abound as deadline for sovereignty plan passes.

David Rosenberg ,

Netanyahu proposes sovereignty plan September 10th 2019
Netanyahu proposes sovereignty plan September 10th 2019
Hadas Parush/Flash90

Wednesday marks the first day Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can introduce his sovereignty plan, according to the coalition deal with the Blue and White party, yet questions remain when Netanyahu will release the plan – and how much of Judea and Samaria the plan will cover.

Netanyahu and his associates have kept details of the sovereignty plan – which would apply Israeli law over parts of Judea and Samaria under the framework of the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan – tightly under wraps, as talks with the US continue.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White) told Galei Tzahal he believes it is "unlikely something would happen today."

Ashkenazi added, however, that he doesn't "know if there will be a statement today on the application of sovereignty. That is a question you have to ask Prime Minister Netanyahu."

Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin Wednesday morning said ‘intensive’ deliberations with US on details of sovereignty plan. Elkain emphasized that US support is critical for the plan, noting that the coalition agreement which permits sovereignty plan to be pursued from July 1st onwards conditions permission for the plan on US approval.

Unconfirmed reports citing senior Israeli, American, and Palestinian Authority officials have suggested a number of widely varying scenarios, ranging from the possibility that Israel will only apply sovereignty to several large settlement blocs, dropping plans to include the Jordan Valley – to a report by Channel 11 Tuesday night which suggests Israel is negotiating with the US to include more fledging Israeli settlements in the map, in exchange for waving sovereignty over other areas.

According to the maps released in the Channel 11 report, which purport to show the US and Israeli sovereignty plans, both versions of the sovereignty plan would see Israel applying its law to roughly 30% of Judea and Samaria.

Under the Israeli plan, however, Israel would ‘trade’ some areas allotted to it under the US version of the plan, in exchange for more territory in sensitive areas between large Palestinian Authority population centers and Israeli towns earmarked to become isolated enclaves.

The Israeli plan would expand the areas surrounding the enclaves which would be placed under Israeli sovereignty, and would apply sovereignty to about 20 of the 25 fledgling towns and outposts which were excluded from the original American plan.

In exchange, Israel would not extend sovereignty over an equivalent area in the Judean Desert.

Other reports claim the US team is pushing to reduce the amount of territory to be included under the plan. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is reportedly opposed to Israel maximizing the territory to be placed under Israeli law.

According to a report by Channel 12 Tuesday night, US officials are pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for US recognition. Specifically, the US is pushing Israel to transfer land from Area C, which is under full Israeli control, to Area B, which is under Israeli security control, but PA civil control.

Netanyahu met on Tuesday with US Ambassador David Friedman and special Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz. Following the meeting, the Prime Minister said, "I spoke with American Envoy Avi Berkowitz and Ambassador David Friedman on the issue of sovereignty. This is a matter which we are working on and which we will continue to work on in the coming days.”

On Monday, Netanyahu hinted to members of the Likud that the application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would not be implemented on July 1, explaining that it would be a complex move which requires many political and security considerations.