Netanyahu Assures Settler Leaders West Bank Annexation Won’t Be Tied to Trump Plan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told settler leaders in a meeting Tuesday that should annexation of West Bank lands be brought before the government or Knesset for approval, it would be promoted independently of the plan proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to sources familiar with the content of the meeting.

After the meeting, Netanyahu's office put out a statement that the prime minister is committed to negotiations with Palestinians under the Trump plan. This means that Netanyahu's commitment would be declarative rather than written into law.

In past weeks, settlers have opposed the conditions delineated in the Trump plan, namely a freeze on settlement expansion and the isolation of some 15 settlements inside territories of a future Palestinian state, which they also oppose the establishment of.

“We face a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty to areas of Judea and Samaria [West Bank],” Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting, adding that deliberations with the United States on the matter are ongoing.

But behind closed doors, Netanyahu has assured settlers that annexation will be promoted independently of the total plan, and thus will not mean acquiescing to the aspects and preconditions which they oppose.

Benny Gantz's party, however, has opposed divorcing land annexation from the total plan proposed by the White House.  

Netanyahu’s office said in response to Haaretz: “The prime minister has repeatedly said that he is committed to negotiations based on the Trump plan, while at the same time pushing forward with the sovereignty plan.”