Netanyahu suggests land swap with Palestinians

 

August 4, 2017

Matty Stern/US Embassy

Trump envoy Jared Kushner (l) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyah in Jerusalem June 21, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in discussions with the U.S. administration, has agreed to land swaps with the Palestinian Authority, Channel 2 reported Thursday.

The conversations were reportedly held before the current Temple Mount crisis, which began nearly two weeks ago and has led to massive confrontation, violence and deadly terror attacks.

Netanyahu's suggestions, made during meetings with Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, senior advisers to President Donald Trump, include the incorporation of towns surrounding Jerusalem into the Israeli capital in exchange for the Wadi Ara area in the north, which is mostly populated by Arabs.

A White House official stressed that the ideas were raised only within the context of a final peace accord.

"This may have been one of many ideas discussed several weeks ago in the context of a peace agreement and not in the context of a separate annexation," the official stated to the media.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has made similar recommendations in the past.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu stated support for the Greater Jerusalem Law, proposed by Member of Knesset (MK) Yoav Kisch, which would include Givat Ze'ev to the northwest of Jerusalem as well Beitar Illit and the Etzion bloc of communities, which are situated southwest of Jerusalem, and Ma'aleh Adumim, to Jerusalem's municipal boundaries-thus creating a greater metropolitan area and, in effect, annexing those Israel communities, which serve as home to some 150,000 Israelis.


The bill also proposes turning Arab villages in the area that lie outside the security barrier into an independent municipality within Greater Jerusalem.

 

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