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Ma'ale Adumim
photo by Rhonda Spivak

View of French hill neighborhood in Jerusaelm. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat wants to link the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim to French Hill.
photo by Rhonda Spivak

Trump Tower, New York

Editor's Report: Will Trump Allow Israel to Annex Ma'ale Adumim and Connect it to Jerusalem?

March 13, 2017

Just before Netanyahu went to Washington to meet Trump, his right wing coalition partner Naftali Bennet of the Jewish home party ( a man who aspires to become Prime Minister after Netanyahu ) was about to put forward a bill in the Knesset to officially  annex Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement  of some 40,000 people east of the Green Line that is considered to be a “bedroom community” built as part of “the ring around Jerusalem.” to ensure the city would always remain under Jewish sovereignty.
Netanyahu asked Bennett to hold off on this bill until his meeting with Trump on Feb 15, as he would want to coordinate this move with the Trump administration . Now that the Trump-Netanyahu meeting took place, the question is whether Israel will annex Ma'ae Adumim (which lies about half way between Jerusalem and the Jordan River,and is not far from Jericho) ?

A  remember speaking with Uri, then a sixty something year old resident of   Ma’ale Adumim, who fought in 1967 to conquer the neighborhood of French Hill in Jerusalem. He said, “The truth is we Israelis made a mistake.  Years ago, we should have built Jewish neighborhoods linking Ma’ale Adumin to the neighborhood of French Hill [near the Hebrew university on Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem].  We didn’t because were too afraid of stepping on the American’s toes.  But, we should have done it anyway.  We should have established facts on the ground before the Americans noticed.  It’s true the Arabs would have protested then, but they’ll protest even more now. And we’re still going to have to do it in the end. ”


How was Ma’ale Adumim’s location chosen? In 1974, the slopes from Jericho to Jerusalem were barren.  Facing diplomacy with King Hussein of Jordan, the Israelis decided that if borders were to be drawn, they should not be next to Jerusalem.  If Jericho was to be given up, a Jewish settlement between Jericho and East Jerusalem would keep the Jordanians away from the Holy City.  Although there were doves in Israel’s Labour party that opposed plans to build Ma’ale Adumim, Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Allon and Shimon Peres supported it.  There was no serious talk of a Palestinian state then, and the Jordanians were only ones in the picture.

Most Israelis consider Maale Adumin to be a part of Israel, and the Israeli consensus is that Ma'ale Adumim will remain a part of Israel under any fture peace deal. Therefore it will have to be linked to Jerusalem. Israel has plans to build new neighborhoods linking Ma'ael Adumim to Jerusalem, but the palestinians vehemently object to this as they say that this will impede their ability to have a contiguous state. (That's not quite true, but it does mean that they would mean that would be longer for them to drive from Jericho to Bethlehem). If Israel did not build neighborhoods to link Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem, then at the very least Israel would need to retain control of a very narrow passageway to connect Ma'ale Adumim from Jerusalem. Recently, Likud MK Ztachi Hanagbi suggested that /Maale Adumim could be linked by a bridge or a tunnel to Jerusalem, such that annexing it would not make a Palestinian state less contigous [Once Israelis and Palestinians sign a peace treaty and implement a two-state solution, “there will be tunnels or bridges that will allow this area to be practically part of Jerusalem” without hindering a territorially viable Palestinian state,” Hanegbi told the Times of Israel.]
The question remains as to what Trump's view will be regarding Ma'ale Adumim. 
I will be surprised if Trump gives Israel the green light to build a new neighborhood (ie settlement) that  connects Ma'ale Adumin to Jerusalem, based on what he has said to Sheldon Adelson's owned Israel Hayom newspaper in an exclusive interview in February. When asked whehter settlements are an impediment to the peace process,Trump said: "They [settlements] don't help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.