The plan the Trump administration released in late January, titled “Peace to Prosperity,” would allow for Israel to apply civil law, as opposed to military law, to 30% of the West Bank.
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu points to a map of the Jordan Valley
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER)
Israel will not apply its sovereignty to Palestinian towns within areas that it plans to annex in the West Bank, and as such, Palestinians – including those living in the Jordan Valley – will not be granted Israeli citizenship, American and Israeli sources said on Tuesday.
“I don’t anticipate Palestinians becoming Israeli, based on the principles laid out in the plan,” a Trump administration source said.
The plan the Trump administration released in late January, titled “Peace to Prosperity,” would allow for Israel to apply civil law, as opposed to military law, to 30% of the West Bank, consisting of all settlements and land surrounding them, and the entire Jordan Valley. An American-Israeli mapping committee has been working on the exact parameters of that area.
The Trump plan does not say that these would be Israel’s final borders, rather that the final details would have to be agreed-upon by Israel and the Palestinians, who refuse to enter negotiations based on the Trump plan.
But with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly setting a July 1 goal date to begin moving towards applying sovereignty, some Palestinians could find themselves in the middle of sovereign Israel – as opposed to disputed territory governed by the military – this summer.
Netanyahu addressed this issue in an interview with Israel Hayom last week, in response to a question of whether Palestinians in the Jordan Valley will become Israeli citizens.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” Netanyahu said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them, they will remain Palestinian subjects if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
One of the principles on which the Trump administration composed the plan is that no one would have to leave their home. The result has been a map that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas quipped is “like Swiss cheese.”
According to the plan, 97% of Palestinians in the West Bank will live in contiguous Palestinian territory. The other 3% would live in “enclaves that remain inside contiguous Israeli territory” but that are still designated to be part of a Palestinian state, and when that state is established, those residents would become Palestinian citizens. Their towns would have access routes connecting them to the contiguous Palestinian state. It is unclear how many Palestinians fall under this category, and different sources give different numbers.
The Trump plan gives the Palestinian leadership four years to meet the standards it sets to establish a state, including stopping incitement and violence against Israel, and providing equal civil rights to its people. Even after a Palestinian state is formed, Israel would have control over security in the entire West Bank.
In the interim, Palestinians enclaves would remain under the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction for civil matters, despite being surrounded by newly-sovereign Israeli land, or as the plan states, “the legal status quo will prevail and the State of Israel will enable the development of those Palestinian communities within their current footprint.”
The plan does not address illegal Palestinian construction in areas within the municipal borders of Israeli settlements.
When Abbas condemned the map as “Swiss cheese” in the UN Security Council in February, he asked: “Who among you will accept a similar state and similar conditions?”
Israel would, since the plan’s conceptual map also includes Israeli enclaves within the area designated for a future Palestinian state, though in the immediate term, there would not be such a state.
Several countries in the world have exclaves, which is an area that can only be reached from the mainland by crossing through the territory of another state. Among those are Baarle-Hertog, Belgian exclaves in the Netherlands; Llivia, an exclave of Spain surrounded by France; and Campione d’Italia, an exclave of Italy surrounded by Switzerland. In the Middle East, four of the United Arab Emirates have five exclaves.