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US Gives Israel a Bold Green Light

Netanyahu plans vote on annexing parts of Jordan Valley, West Bank
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2020 5:52 PM CST
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President Donald Trump, left, listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration's much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – With the ink still drying on President Trump's Middle East peace plan, Israel says it's ready for action. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he will have his cabinet vote Sunday on two key measures: applying Israeli sovereignty to parts of the Jordan Valley and to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, the New York Times reports. Both ideas were suggested in Trump's plan in exchange for Palestine attaining a path to statehood that would include roughly 70% of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and other land. But US officials say they're OK with Israel annexing the areas regardless of whether the 4-year peace plan progresses.

"Israel does not have to wait at all," says US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, per the Times of Israel. "If they wish to apply Israeli law to those areas allocated to Israel, we will recognize it." It's unclear whether these moves will require parliamentary approval in Israel, and there could be court challenges since Nethanyahu's cabinet is an interim government. Meanwhile Jordan, Palestine, and more liberal Israelis are all opposing Netanyahu's plan. "This is the first result of the 'fraud of the century,'" Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tells the Washington Post. "It was a green light for Netanyahu and the settlers council to do what they wanted to—legalize the settlements." Palestinians were also slamming the peace plan, per the AP, with President Mahmoud Abbas saying "a thousand no's" to it. (See more on the peace plan.)

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