Photo Credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
President Trump's Special Envoy Jared Kushner meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, June 21, 2017.

A month before the July 1 planned sovereignty declaration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Presidential Adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke on Monday over the phone, Kan 11 News reported Monday night. Netanyahu halted a Likud party faction meeting for a conference call with Kushner, which also included Kushner’s adviser who is in charge of the peace portfolio at the White House, Avi Berkowitz, US Ambassador to Jerusalem David Friedman, and Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Ron Dremer.

A White House official told Kan 11 that the conversation was friendly and fruitful. But does it mean Kushner demanded the PM hold off on imposing Israeli sovereignty come July 1, as Kan 11 reported from their Israeli sources? Does the Pope play soccer (remember, he’s from Buenos Aires)?

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry has not yet been instructed to prepare an international campaign in support of the imposition of sovereignty in parts of the liberated territories, according to a ministry source who spoke to Maariv. This is probably due to Netanyahu’s desire to make the decisions without interference. According to the source, “He does not seem to be interested in an extensive campaign work that would include the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the NSC – because he fears it would hurt his ability to act freely and quickly. He also fears that leaks from the campaign discussions would spark a public discourse in which he is not interested.”

As the July 1 deadline for imposing sovereignty approaches, the heads of Yesha Council are intensifying their struggle to improve on the American government’s plan. Over the past two weeks, they have conducted a round of meetings with ministers and MKs, while working on an extensive and, needless to say, costly campaign that will be launched in the coming days: a big campaign in the US against President Trump’s Deal of the Century as it stands now, especially against the part about establishing a Palestinian state. They will run a similar campaign in Israel as well.

Unfortunately, the idea that anyone in the US, including the Israeli right’s most ardent friends in Washington, will find time in the midst of a pandemic and country-wide race riots to debate the specialized needs of the Yesha settlers is ludicrous.

With that in mind, Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan believes that it’s time to take advantage of this opportunity, when the world is too busy to care enough to take counter action, and simply declare sovereignty as soon as possible. According to Dagan, “This is the best timing for sovereignty. Trump has America’s troubles and the elections, Europe has the coronavirus. Israel should advance its interest and not give up anything. There’s no need to draw maps at all, simply promote the sovereignty.”

The Yamina faction in the Knesset on Monday afternoon held a meeting with Yesha Council leaders on the issue of sovereignty, which the Likud is committed to imposing in a month’s time. Yamina and Yesha Council are both worried that all the aspects of Trump’s deal would materialize, including the establishment of a Palestinian state. At the end of the meeting, they issued a joint statement saying: “Applying Israeli sovereignty to the territories of the Land of Israel is a historical act, but establishing a Palestinian terrorist state in the heart of our country is an existential disaster.”

Which is yet another attempt to keep the cake and eat it, too – something everybody in the region has been trying since 1878.

Meanwhile, if the foreign ministry has yet to be mobilized, Israel Police has appointed a senior officer to coordinate police preparations for the possibility of sovereignty. He is Brigadier General Itzik Saban, the former commander of the Jerusalem Border Police.

So we may not have sovereignty any time soon, but riots over the idea of sovereignty we will have for sure. Which means this report will have to conclude with something about this being a really hot summer.

Going out on a limb is not what it used to be.

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