Trump Plan:
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz: Israel 'not obligated' to back Palestinian state

"Trump peace plan isn't a 'take it or leave it' deal", says Likud Minister. "It isn't perfect but its the best deal ever for Israel."

David Rosenberg ,

Trump and Netanyahu appear at press conference January 28th, 2020
Trump and Netanyahu appear at press conference January 28th, 2020

A senior Israeli lawmaker suggested that Israel may only adopt parts of President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, saying Israel would not be obliged to back the establishment of a Palestinian state, even if the US supports such a move.

Speaking with Radio 103FM Thursday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan was imperfect, but nevertheless is the best peace plan proposed thus far by a major power.

Steinitz also hinted that Israel wouldn’t necessarily adopt all of the Trump plan.

“The Trump plan, which may not be perfect – and we also don’t need to accept all of it as is if it were sacred – but it is the best peace plan for us that the US or the international community has ever put on the table: the best for us, and the most problematic for the Palestinians. So some people on the radical Left and also part of the Right that’s to the right of the Likud are against it.”

The minister went on to say that Israel would be able to pursue alterations to the plan, saying it “certainly is not” a “take it or leave it deal”.

“The issue of Palestinian statehood is a matter for negotiation and requires agreement from both sides. I don’t see anything happening with that in the foreseeable future, for a Palestinian state, because the Palestinians aren’t ready, and to be honest, they don’t really want it. Otherwise, it would have happened a long time ago.”

Nor is Israel obligated to back Palestinian statehood, even if the US supports it, Steinitz added.

“If the Americans will say that they’re still ready to consider or that they still support – if they even talk about a Palestinian state – that doesn’t obligate us. Just like, by the way, this [plan] doesn’t obligate the Palestinians to recognize annexation or applying sovereignty, it’s the Americans who are recognizing it. The Americans recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the embassy, the Palestinians didn’t recognize it.”

Steinitz went on to say that Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to some 30% of Judea and Samaria did not mean Israel is dropping its claims to the rest of the area.

“The fact that we’re annexation large parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley doesn’t mean we’re giving up our claims to other large parts.”

Some right-wing leaders, including David Elhayani, the chief of the Yesha Council – which represents Israelis living in Judea and Samaria – have criticized the Trump plan and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to apply sovereignty to some 30% of Judea and Samaria as part of the plan.

On Wednesday, Elhayani denounced President Trump and White House advisor Jared Kushner, saying the two were “not friends of the State of Israel.”

A day later, Elhayani doubled down on his criticism of the Trump administration and its plan.