What looked on Jan. 28 to be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s greatest achievement — a joyous ceremony at the White House during which President Donald Trump gave the Israeli right the best diplomatic gift of all time — has since turned into an electoral burden. This about-face is due to Netanyahu’s inability to realize the promise he made to impose sovereignty on the West Bank before elections scheduled for March 2.
As Trump said at the ceremony, his plan gives Israel 30% of the territory on the West Bank and allows it to annex all of the settlements after the formation of a “joint committee” to finalize the details. Netanyahu ignored this little condition, and with the encouragement of the American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, told Israeli journalists after the ceremony that sovereignty would be enacted immediately, that he would gather the government to authorize it upon his return to Israel. It turned out that this had not been coordinated with White House seniors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the architects of the plan, who rejected sovereignty before the elections and before the joint committee completed its work.