Stephen Daisley Stephen Daisley

Israel’s coalition deal means the Trump Peace Plan is back on track

(Photo: Getty)

After three stalemate elections in a year, Israel finally has a government. Incumbent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz signed a pact on Monday which will see them take turns at being premier. It’s nice when people share.

The most immediate concerns for Israelis are how the new administration will handle the coronavirus outbreak and how much more this latest reshuffle will end up costing them. For the rest of the world, what matters most is paragraph 29 of Netanyahu and Gantz’s coalition agreement.

Paragraph 29 says Netanyahu can bring forward a bill to apply sovereignty to Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which make up 30 per cent of the Judea and Samaria regions) as early as July 1. Although Gantz personally opposes this approach, and would prefer to make yet another attempt to coax the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, he will not stand in the way of the bill. Provided Netanyahu can find the votes, we could be just weeks away from Israel formally asserting itself as the de jure sovereign over the West Bank settlements.

This will of course be met with resistance. Yousel al-Hasaineh has already accused Netanyahu and Gantz of ‘extremism’ and undermining the peace process. Yousel al-Hasaineh is the spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Alongside PIJ, expect cold fury from the likes of the UN, the EU, CNN and the BBC –  proving conclusively that nothing good has ever come from an acronym. Terms like ‘annexation’, ‘colonisation’ and ‘bantustans’ will almost certainly be thrown around. But a sovereignty bill, if it passes into law, will simply begin the process of implementing the Trump Peace Plan. That plan assigns 30 per cent of Judea and Samaria to Israel and the other 70 per cent to a demilitarised Palestinian state.

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