There was a conference (that I did not attend) on Sovereignty last week in Jerusalem, meaning sovereignty of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) that many right-wing Israelis think should be under Israeli control.  This conference was timed specifically to precede PM Netanyahu’s trip to Washington to meet Pres. Trump and was intended to bring pressure on him. At the same time, to show that he was resisting this pressure, just before leaving Netanyahu stated that he still supports the two-state solution.  He was the first PM to accept this in 2009, and he said he hopes to make progress in this direction with Pres. Trump.  Trump is on record as favoring a deal that would presumably be  based on a two-state solution.

Political elements in both Israel and the US are against such a move to extend Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.  Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition in the Knesset, opposes the “Regulations Bill” that would retroactively legalize Israeli settlement housing built on private Palestinian land.  It is thought that this bill will either be overturned by the Supreme Court as illegal or might result in international legal action, such as by the International |Criminal Court in the Hague.  Also, liberal Jewish elements in the US have gone on record as opposing this Bill and any extension of Israeli settlement activity or construction in Judea and Samaria.  They are also opposing the Trump appointment of David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel, since he supports Israeli settlements. Whether or not Friedman will be involved in the discussions and decision-making with Netanyahu and Trump is unknown.

We await the outcome of these important talks that could have significant consequnces for the region. Will Trump support moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?  Will Trump impose crippling sanctions on Iran for its actions supporting terrorism and developing missiles?  Will Trump think outside the box, realize that a two-state solution is unobtainable with the Palestinians (after 50 years of trying) and opt for a new and different approach, where the pressure is not put on Israel to compromise but rather on the Palestinians?  Will Trump realize that a Palestinian State will be like the Islamic State, a source of anti-Israel and anti-American terrorism?  Will this meeting usher in a new era of peace and security in the Middle East??  Watch this space.



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