In view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s February visit to Washington and his meeting with US President Donald Trump, the US administration will soon be confronted with conflicting pressures: Israel on the one hand, and the Palestinians, the European Union and Egypt on the other.
According to a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who is part of the policy team preparing Netanyahu’s visit, Israel is currently drafting a proposal for Trump and his team, pre-empting any future agreement with the Palestinians. The draft will propose that the new US administration recognize Israel’s future sovereignty in the settlement blocs without defining their scope. Israel also seeks US assurances that it will prevent any diplomatic move internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution, such as the continuation of the Jan. 15 Paris conferences or any other UN Security Council resolution stipulating the illegality of Israeli West Bank settlements. On the other hand, the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem is not high on the Israeli agenda, out of concern for unrest in the West Bank. Such an agreement by the new administration will enable the Netanyahu government to freely continue its settlement expansion policies, especially within the settlement blocs and the Jerusalem area. Netanyahu will also ask for new sanctions on Iran.