Haim Ramon indicated that Israel’s West Bank security barrier will be the future Israel-Palestine border.
Israel’s deputy prime minister, speaking Monday night at the Israel Policy Forum’s annual gala in New York, said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in dispute over just 5.5 percent of the West Bank.
“It’s clear that Israel will annex the blocs of settlement, and it’s clear that Israel only wants the blocs of settlement,” Ramon said, referring to the major Israeli settlement blocs on Israel’s side of the West Bank fence, which he said constitute some 8 percent of the West Bank. Palestinian negotiators have indicated they are willing to forego claims on 2.5 percent of the West Bank, according to Ramon, leaving the 5.5 percent in dispute.
Speaking to Israel Policy Forum supporters seated at tables festooned with the Israeli, Palestinian and American flags, Ramon said Israel immediately should initiate a campaign to encourage Jewish settlers who live on the Palestinian side of the West Bank security barrier to move to the other side of the boundary that eventually will become the international border.
“It’s clear to both sides what will be the endgame,” Ramon said.
During the time of the barrier’s construction, Israeli officials denied arguments by Palestinians and others that the fence was an attempt to predetermine the future border.