Is it possible that perhaps Netanyahu and Gantz are deliberately wasting time to wait Trump out and avoiding the application of his plan?
By Ezequiel Doiny, INN
Netanyahu and Gantz
On August 11, 2020 it was reported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the United States for his failure to apply sovereignty to ‘West Bank’ settlements. On Channel 20. the Prime Minister said: “It was clear from the start that the application of sovereignty would be done only with agreement from the United States. Otherwise, I would have already done it a while ago.”
On July 14,2020 Arutz 7 reported “Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria has been frozen for the time being, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday morning. Yariv Levin (Likud), the Knesset Speaker and chief of the Israeli delegation negotiating with the White House on the implementation of the sovereignty plan, said in closed talks that talks with the US on the plan were not progressing at this time…”
The reason not to apply sovereignty is that talks with the US on the plan are “not progressing”, but the next one will be the proximity of US elections. According to reports, sovereignty will not be implemented close to US elections. On April 6 , 2020 Arutz 7 reported “The Yamina party responded Monday evening to leaked reports of the unity agreement between the Likud and Blue and White parties…Netanyahu received a vague wording about sovereignty that says nothing, and, worse, rejects sovereignty close to the US election in a way that casts a heavy shadow on the possibility of obtaining American consent to the move…”
So the proximity of US elections will be another reason to postpone the application of sovereignty. Naftali Bennett has been trying to apply Israeli sovereignty over Ma’aleh Adumim since January 2017 but Netanyahu has repeatedly found reasons to postpone the vote.
On June 11,2020 Arutz 7 reported “…Bennett said he does not believe that the government will go through with applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. “When I see Netanyahu talk about it so much, I’m convinced he won’t do it…”
On February 29, 2020 the Jerusalem Post reported “Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman alleged on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told King Abdullah of Jordan that he would not annex the Jordan Valley and that it was all for the elections.”
“I found out a few days ago that, during all the talk about annexing the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu sent a message to the King of Jordan saying, ‘don’t worry, it’s just election talk, there won’t be annexation,’ Liberman said,” adding that Netanyahu had security forces deliver the message.
Netanyahu chose to partner with Blue and White and appoint Ashkenazi. Why did Netanyahu choose a foreign minister who says he wants to have a “foot on the brake” on sovereignty? On April 26, 2020 Arutz7 reported “MK Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White) on Saturday night gave an interview to Channel 12 News, his first since the signing of the coalition agreement with the Likud…Ashkenazi was asked about the issue of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria which Netanyahu promised his voters and replied, “We believe that it’s better to have an influence from within [the government]. You know, [though] maybe the public doesn’t know, that if Netanyahu brings [sovereignty] to a vote in the Knesset tomorrow, he will have a majority of 70 votes. We think that every person should ask himself who he wants behind the steering wheel when that happens. We prefer to have a hand on the wheel and a foot on the brake.”
On April 21, 2020 Gill Hoffman wrote about Netanyahu and Gantz’ agreement: “Looking through the agreement, there is nothing there that could not have been signed in the immediate aftermath of the first election in April 2019. Imagine if already back then, Netanyahu and Gantz would have expressed a willingness to compromise on behalf of the people of Israel. There could have been a functioning government in place to handle the coronavirus, money wasted on campaigns could have gone to the health care system and the most pro-Israel clauses in US President Donald Trump’s peace plan could have been implemented before the US election went into high gear…”
Netanyahu and Gantz could have reached the same agreement in April 2019. Why did they waste all this time? A possible reason is that they WANTED to waste time because they are waiting Trump out to avoid applying sovereignty. Biden may win the next elections and it is good to remember that Obama and Biden allowed the approval of UNSC 2334 according to which even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall are in “occupied Palestinian territories”. Netanyahu is likely to avoid applying sovereignty in order not to upset the next US President.
Netanyahu may be delaying the application of sovereignty to wait Trump out and avoid a confrontation with Biden in case he wins. Netanyahu says he will apply sovereignty but since 2017 he has repeatedly looked for excuses to postpone sovereignty. His actions over his years in power seem to provide evidence he is moving in the opposite direction, he has been systematically surrendering more and more areas in Judea, Samaria and even undermining Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter:
A: Netanyahu signed an agreement with the EU allowing the EU to finance Palestinian projects in Jerusalem
On December 28, 2017 Israel National News reported “A number of government ministers were surprised to discover this week that, without notice, under their noses, an agreement was signed with the European Union that could have very significant implications for the State of Israel vis-a-vis the PA, B’Sheva revealed this morning, Thursday. This is an agreement called the “Transboundary Cooperation Program in the Mediterranean Basin” and is aimed at financing projects costing tens of millions of euros for 14 non-EU countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is also defined as a political entity.
The agreement includes, inter alia, a clause stating that for Israel, the agreement does not apply beyond the Green Line, in eastern Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights. In the areas under the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, it applies without any qualifications.
In other words, Israeli entities in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights will not be able to participate in the projects and receive funding. The PA is enjoying a privilege here that no previous agreement has given it: it will not only be responsible for projects in the Palestinian Authority, but will be able to seek support for projects in the areas that, according to the Oslo Accords and other agreements, are under Israeli sovereignty.
These include Area C, which is certainly under Israeli control and eastern Jerusalem – where the Palestinian Authority has no legal status and, therefore, should not have a foothold as a decision-maker. What kind of projects does the PA want to implement within the framework of this agreement with the EU?
For example, the PA wants the EU to invest in a project that promotes the “Palestinian heritage” of Sebastia, one of the places where Israel has actually consolidated its control in recent years. Another project on the agenda of the Palestinian Authority is activity at one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, a place that is, by all accounts, under Israeli sovereignty. A long list of projects aimed at undermining Jewish heritage and the State of Israel is on the PA’s agenda. How did this happen? How was such an agreement approved without any significant protest?
The story of the approval of this agreement begins on December 13. All government ministers received a request to approve the agreement, stating that “in accordance with sections 10 and 19 (b) of the government’s work regulations, if no reservation is filed within a week, it will acquire the force of a government decision.”
…Minister Miri Regev, who understood that the proposal was at the very least problematic and required amendments, exercised her right and submitted a reservation. It was in headlines for a day, and some of the cabinet ministers who understood what was happening did not bother to present reservations of their own – because they relied on Regev’s. On Monday, some ministers were surprised to hear from the cabinet secretary that the decision had been approved. These were ministers who wanted to hold a discussion on the plan at the upcoming cabinet meeting because of the inherent problems with it. The Cabinet Secretary made it clear to the ministers that asked him about the matter that Regev’s reservations were recorded as opposition to the decision – and in fact as a vote against.
Because Regev did not explicitly request an additional hearing, however, the automatic approval of the agreement came into force. Other ministers who had counted on Regev’s opposition were left with a decision that not a few had wanted to oppose or work to amend, but who missed the train, each for his own reasons…”
B: In 1996 Netanyahu allowed the construction of a Mosque in Salomon Stables in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
Netanyahu has been making concessions to the Palestinians since 1996 when he allowed them to build a mosque in the Salomon Stables area in Temple Mount. On October 1996 templemount.org reported “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Israeli authorities not to block the opening of a mosque at Solomon’s Stables, an area underneath the Temple Mount, HA’ARETZ reported. The decision reportedly took into consideration security assessments which determined that any attempts to reverse construction work at the site would spark a new round of rioting…”
C: in 2019 Netanyahu allowed the construction of another mosque in Temple Mount’s Gate of Mercy
On March 1, 2019 Arutz 7 reported “Tzachi Dvira, the archaeologist managing the team that sifts through soil excavated from the Temple Mount, on Thursday called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately order the evacuation of the Golden Gate compound from the Arabs that took over it…They will renovate the site and damage the antiquities. There are remnants there from the period of the Second Temple. If they are allowed to renovate, I doubt there will be archaeological inspection there. I hope that the State of Israel will come to its senses and prevent the next archaeological disaster.”
D: Netanyahu allowed the expansion of Palestinian cities in Area C
On June 16, 2017 the Jerusalem Post reported ” Right-wing politicians are up in arms over the idea of expanding Palestinian cities in Area C.Late Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed a report on Channel 2 that the security cabinet in 2016 authorized 14,000 new homes for Kalkilya allowing it to expand into Area C.”
E: Netanyahu authorized a Palestinian industral park and thousands of building permits for Palestinians in Area C
On May 26, 2017 the Jewish Press reported that “This past Sunday, PM Netanyahu’s security cabinet passed a series of new concessions to the Palestinian Authority…The gestures approved by the cabinet were:
…Constructing a new Industrial Zone in Tarkumiya, in Area C, which is land under full Israeli control, effectively converting parts of Area C into Area A.
…Granting the Palestinian Authority thousands of building permits in Area C to retroactively legalize illegally built Arab construction.
…Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) has come out strongly against the plan to create the Tarkumiya Industrial Zone in Area C, according to a report in Makor Rishon. Tarkumiya is the crossing point in southern Hebron, north of Kiryat Gat.
According to the report, the Tarkumiya gesture will hand over thousands of dunams of land to the PA from Area C, which will be converted in Area A, right along the Green Line. A dunam is approximately a quarter-acre. Furthermore, the industrial zone won’t even be a joint Jewish-Arab industrial zone as other industrial zones in Area C are, but will be exclusively for Palestinian Authority Arabs.
During the meeting, Bennett raised the point that the Palestinian Authority is actively trying to expand into Area C. Bennett expressed surprised that the industrial zone had to be expanded into Area C, when there is plenty of open space in nearby Area B. Area B is under Palestinian Authority civilian control, and Israeli security control. In addition, this zone is being built along the security fence, which Bennett says is a security risk…”
F: Netanyahu allowed the renovation of a mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter
On November 25, 2019 Arye Savir wrote in World Israel News and TPS “Residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem are preparing for widespread protests following the renovation and reopening of the Sidna Omar mosque in the heart of the neighborhood. The mosque, located on the main road to the Western Wall and in close proximity to several Jewish educational institutions, has been closed for decades and will open to Muslim worshipers in the coming weeks after undergoing renovations paid for by Jordan. This development has become a source of great concern in the Jewish Quarter and among Jewish communities in Jerusalem and abroad…
Residents of the Jewish Quarter told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) they are outraged at what they say is the incompetence of the Israeli authorities…Chaim Silberstein is the founder of Keep Jerusalem, “a non profit, non partisan organization founded to educate the public at large as to the importance of a United Jerusalem under Israeli Sovereignty,” according to its website. “It is clear that this effort by the Muslims to reopen this mosque in the heart of the Jewish quarter is a political, not religious, move,”
Silberstein told WIN. “There is a plethora of mosques and religious institutions in the areas where the Muslims live in the Old City and elsewhere. There are no Muslims living in the immediate area this mosque. “It is a blatant effort by bad-intentioned Muslims to stir up religious tensions and challenge Israeli sovereignty and legitimacy in the Old City. This must be stopped immediately, and if not, we will be witness to further acts of aggression and challenges to our sovereignty,” Silberstein continued. “If this is unchecked it will inevitably bring about clashes and violence and bloodshed, which is their goal in the first place. In short, this is religious terror, and Israel would be smart to nip it in the bud right now,” he warned.”
Not only is Netanyahu “postponing” the application of sovereignty, he seems, perhaps unintentionally, taking steps in the opposite direction. One thing is sure – if Trump loses the elections the window of opportunity will be closed.
Ezequiel Doiny is author of “Obama’s assault on Jerusalem’s Western Wall”