Itzik Shmuli
Itzik Shmuli Photo by Roy Alima/Flash90

Labor and Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli (Labor) said Tuesday morning he will oppose efforts by the Netanyahu government to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, vowing to block the sovereignty plan from moving forward.

Speaking with Reshet Bet Tuesday morning, Shmuli said the Labor party’s inclusion in the government would empower it to resist the implementation of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan.

“Unilateral annexation is contradictory to our national interests,” said Shmuli. “There is no question that right now there is a great motivation for the Prime Minister to push this process, but I will not back it. And our ability to hamper this process is much greater when we’re in the government.”

Shmuli said he would only back the application of Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria if Israel reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, securing the PA’s support for such a move.

On the other hand, coalition chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) said the Likud party plans to bring a measure applying Israeli sovereignty to the entirety of Judea and Samaria to a government vote by July 1st.

When asked how these plans square with the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which only provide for the application of sovereignty over less than a third of Judea and Samaria and which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the remaining two-thirds, Zohar said the Likud still opposes Palestinian statehood.

“We’re opposed to a Palestinian state, and I rely on Netanyahu to know how to apply sovereignty on all of the territories, without the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

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