I asked what the boundaries of the settlements would be.
He said that they have a map, it isn’t precise, so it can be flexibly interpreted but it was developed in consultation with Israeli government experts.
Suspicious, I went granular. Khan al-Ahmar is an illegal, strategically located Beduin encampment built on the access road to Kfar Adumim, a community north of Jerusalem. Israel’s Supreme Court ordered its removal, but bowing to pressure from Germany and allegedly, the International Criminal Court, the government has failed to execute the court order.
I asked if Khan al-Ahmar is part of Kfar Adumim on the American map. Friedman answered in the affirmative.
What about the area called E1, which connects the city of Maaleh Adumim to Jerusalem?
Yes, it’s inside the map, he said.
How about the illegal building right outside the northern entrance to my community, Efrat, south of Jerusalem in Gush Etzion. The massive illegal building there threatens to turn Efrat’s highway access road into a gauntlet. Is that area going to be under Israeli jurisdiction?
How about the isolated communities – Yitzhar, Itamar, Har Bracha? Are they Israel?
Yes, yes, yes, he said. Our map foresees Israel applying its sovereignty to about half of Area C, he explained.
What about the other half? Without control of the surrounding areas, the communities in Judea and Samaria will be under constant threat. Their development will be stifled by limitations on the development of critical infrastructure.
For now, Friedman replied, everything in the rest of Area C will be governed as it has been up until now. Israel will have overriding civilian powers and sole security authority. In fact, in our plan, he explained, Israel will have permanent overriding security authority over all of Judea and Samaria, even after a peace agreement is concluded.
Friedman then turned to the nature of the agreement the Trump administration seeks to conclude.
The Palestinians have four years, he explained, to agree to the President’s plan. To reach a deal they have to agree to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. They have to accept Israeli control over the airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. They have agree to a demilitarized state and accept that there will be no Palestinian immigration to Israel from abroad. They have to agree to Israeli sovereignty over the border with Jordan. They have to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and demilitarize Gaza.
If they do that, we will recognize them as a state and they will receive the rest of Area C.
What if they don’t agree to those terms? I asked.
- If they don’t agree, he replied, then at the end of four years, Israel will no longer be bound by the terms of the deal and will be free to apply its law to all areas it requires.