US urging Israeli land transfers to 'offset' annexation: report

US urging Israeli land transfers to 'offset' planned Palestinian territories annexation
2 min read
01 July, 2020
In return for annexing Palestinian territories, Israel could transfer other lands to PA control, US negotiators have reportedly suggested.
The Trump plan allows for potential land swaps [Getty]
Washington has urged Israel to make a concession to Palestinians if it goes forward with the planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, according to a local media report.

The US suggested a land swap-style arrangement rather than unilateral annexation, in an attempt to appease the Palestinian Authority over the hugely controversial move.

US officials have suggested that Israel change the status of lands in the occupied West Bank that are directly controlled by its military as compensation for the planned annexation of settlement areas, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Officials from both countries were still hashing out the details on Wednesday as Israel arrived at the date when its leadership can put forward an annexation plan for parliamentary approval.

Israeli lawmakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have suggested that the move will be delayed.

A key ally of Netanyahu on Wednesday stated that the annexation is expected to go forward later in July.

As part of Israeli-American negotiations, US officials have suggested transferring a pocket of land to PA control, where Palestinians will be given rights to build without limits. Construction is severely curtailed under Israeli military rule.

Another concession idea put forward by US negotiators is the transfer of Area C lands in the West Bank to Area B.

Under the 1994 Oslo Accords, the occupied West Bank was divided up into three areas. Area A is exclusively under the control of the Palestinian Authority, while Area C is completely under Israeli control. Area B, however, is under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.

The Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan revealed earlier this year also allows for potential land transfers between Israel and Palestine.

As well as earmarking a narrow strip of the Negev desert for the future Palestinian state, the Trump plan also allows for the possibility that this state could include Palestinian-majority areas currently located inside Israel.

A map shared by public broadcaster Kan on Tuesday - allegedly prepared by Israeli officials - appeared to show the so-called "Arab Triangle" area of Palestinian-majority towns in northern Israel as part of the future Palestinian state.

It is yet unclear what such a land transfer would mean for residents of the Triangle area, who are citizens of Israel.

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