Israeli government to vote on annexation of West Bank settlements

Israeli government to vote on annexation of West Bank settlements
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Israel’s government will vote this weekend on annexing 30 percent of the West Bank, a move that comes just after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE rolled out his Middle East peace plan. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE said he would move forward on Sunday and ask his Cabinet to approve plans to annex West Bank territory, according to The Associated Press.

Despite the upcoming vote, Netanyahu’s government signaled annexation may not need to be approved by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and that only the Cabinet needs to sign off on the plan.

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“Basically, this is the lifting of martial law and the implementation of Israeli law,” an Israeli government official told The Washington Post. “This does not require a Knesset decision.”

The announcement of the vote came shortly after Trump’s unveiling of his peace plan, which would allow Israel to annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley, which sits at the border between Jordan and the West Bank. 

Under Trump’s plan, which would be the potential framework for future peace talks, Palestinians would ultimately be given a state that would cover roughly 70 percent of the West Bank plus the Gaza Strip in exchange for the concessions. Palestinians also would be granted other pockets of land in the south of Israel if they meet certain conditions.

The White House said a future Palestine would be a “demilitarized” state that would not be allowed to have an army or air force.

The territorial concessions, which would be greater than under most other peace plans offered in the past, sparked a firm rejection of the proposal from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

“After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no’s to the Deal of The Century,” Abbas reportedly said at a press conference in the West Bank.

Despite Palestinians' opposition to the deal, which Arab neighbors later echoed, the Trump administration said Israel did not need to delay annexation until negotiations are held over the plan.

"Israel does not have to wait at all," U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on a conference call with reporters. "The waiting period would be the time it takes to obtain internal approvals and create the documentation."
 
Updated: 4:56 p.m.