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Netanyahu reportedly keeping details of sovereignty plan secret – even from Benny Gantz

With exactly one month until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presents his plan for applying Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, details of the plan – including the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the area – are being kept a secret from all but a handful of officials directly involved in the process.

Netanyahu has vowed to bring the sovereignty plan to the government on July 1st, in keeping with the coalition agreement and following the completion of work by a joint Israeli-American mapping committee tasked with drawing up the exact perimeter’s of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

Only the Prime Minister and two senior Likud officials working with the mapping committee have access to the sovereignty maps, according to a report by Walla Monday.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) and Ronen Peretz, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, who are part of the joint Israeli-American mapping team, remain the only Israeli officials, other than Netanyahu himself, with access to the sovereignty plan.

Even Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White), who is to rotate in as prime minister in 18 months, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White), remain in the dark regarding the details of the sovereignty plan and the precise boundaries which will be included, Israeli officials told Walla.

The report also claimed that the prime minister, Levin, and Peretz have not only kept the maps for the sovereignty plan secret from political leaders but also from staffers from the Defense, Justice, and Foreign ministries, as well as the Shin Bet internal security agency.

No one, the officials told Walla, outside of Netanyahu and the Israeli-American mapping team have any information regarding the details of the sovereignty plan.

Under the coalition agreement with Benny Gantz, Netanyahu is barred from pursuing the sovereignty plan until July 1st, at which time he will be free to present the plan formally to the government.

Netanyahu must do so in consultation with Gantz, however, according to the coalition deal.

In the days leading up to the plan’s formal unveiling to the Israeli government on July 1st, Gantz will appoint an official from Blue and White to join the Israeli portion of the mapping team, giving him a direct source of information on the details of the plan and the boundaries set to be placed under Israeli sovereignty.

Last week, coalition members and leaders of the Yesha Council – which represents Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria – claimed the American delegation in the mapping committee had made significant changes to the terms of the sovereignty plan, requiring Israel to relinquish all claims to the 70% or so of Judea and Samaria which will be left outside of Israel’s legal borders.

But Israeli officials say this claim, along with others pushed by right-wing critics of the plan, are not based on actual materials prepared by the mapping committee – which remain under wraps – but rather are taken from the general framework of Trump administration’s peace plan and the conceptual maps included in the plan.

No final decision has been made, the officials said, regarding the boundaries or terms of the sovereignty plan, with a number of versions having been drawn up thus far for the American and Israeli teams to choose from in order to find a plan acceptable to both sides.

Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) hinted at possible delays to the sovereignty plan, telling Galei Tzahal that the joint mapping team may not have settled on a final map by the July 1st deadline, leading the Israeli government to push off the implementation of the plan.

“I know that they’re working on the map, and this process could take a little bit more time.”

“The first of July is the first day the plan can be brought up for a debate in the government and the Knesset. But it is possible that it will take a few more days or even weeks.”

Original: Arutz Sheva – David Rosenberg