PM to bring annexation of Jordan Valley, all settlements for cabinet vote Sunday

Deri buoyant: ‘We must not miss historic opportunity’ to extend sovereignty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells reporters he will immediately bring matter before government; US envoy to Israel confirms Israel can move forward on annexation whenever it wishes

Shas chief Aryeh Deri is exuberant over the newly announced peace proposal, particularly America’s recognition of Israeli rights to parts of the West Bank.

“The rights of the Israeli people in its land were tonight given historic recognition!” his office says in a statement. “Shas congratulates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump on the historic and stirring recognition in the Israeli people’s rights to the Land of Israel.”

Deri says Shas will support immediate annexation of West Bank territories. “We must not miss this historic opportunity and we must not put it off.”

Netanyahu plans to move forward with annexing the Jewish settlements in West Bank and the parts of the Jordan Valley addressed in the just-released Trump peace plan this Sunday, according to a government official who asked not to be named.

The move comes after the announcement of Trump’s plan, which would allow Israel to extend sovereignty over the settlements in the disputed territories, bringing them into Israel proper, as well as the Jordan Valley extending north from the Dead Sea.

In exchange, the proposal would give Palestinians a path to a state that would cover some 70 percent of the West Bank plus the Gaza Strip and other pockets to the south if they adhered to certain prerequisites.

But U.S. officials also indicated that they would be agreeable to Israel moving now to annex the areas covered by the plan.

In a conference call with reporters following the release of the proposal, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman indicated that if Israel decided to extend Israeli law to the areas in question, through its own government processes, Washington would recognize that as Israeli territory even before the four-year window of the peace plan is closed.

“Israel does not have to wait at all,” Friedman said to reporters.

Netanyahu planned to present annexation to his cabinet Sunday, moving first to incorporate the settlements and Jordan Valley and, at a future date, to annex parcels of connecting territory between the communities.

It was not immediately clear whether annexation would require parliamentary approval. The official said the prime minister’s office believed a cabinet vote was sufficient.

"Basically, this is the lifting of martial law and the implementation of Israeli law,” the official said. “This does not require a Knesset decision."

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