Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the annexation started July 1.
Annexation of the illegal settlements is also included in the president Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan for the area, but condemned by the UN and a global community.
Now the doubt has apparently also appeared in the White House, where for several days they have discussed how to deal with such annexation, according to A.P.
Trump himself has participated in the discussions, but some conclusions have not been drawn, sources told the news agency.
And a third
Netanyahu has announced annexation of about 30 percent of the West Bank, including the Palestinians’ grain chamber of the Jordan Valley.
According to AP, Trump’s special envoy Avi Berkowitz traveled to Israel on Thursday to discuss the way forward with the Israeli government.
One alternative to full US support for Netanyahu’s plan is that Trump gives the green light to a gradual or less comprehensive annexation. That he puts his foot down completely for annexation is considered unlikely.
Pompeo and Friedman
Among those who agree on Netanyahu’s plan are Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
“It is up to the Israelis to make a decision to extend sovereignty to other places,” Pompeo said Wednesday.
Friedman, who himself has donated generous donations to the Beit El settlement in the West Bank, has also said that Israel can annex whenever they want.
Several leading Republicans in Congress also support Netanyahu’s plan, while others believe annexation will be unwise.
Among those who, according to the AP, are advocating for a more cautious US stance is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Kushner is one of the architects behind Trump’s so-called peace plan, which was prepared without Palestinian involvement and in close cooperation with Israel. He allegedly fears that annexation will destroy America’s relations with other countries in the region, not least Jordan.
Also within the Pentagon’s defense leadership, skepticism is high and many objections, according to several sources.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stated that the announced annexation will be “a very serious violation of international law”, and UN Special Envoy in the Middle East, Nikolaj Mladenov, says annexation will forever and forever change the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians.
Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit says annexation will destroy any peace and pose a threat to stability throughout the region. Palestinian authorities warn of the same.
– Annexation will be a crime. It seems that Israel is determined to ignore the big red stop sign the world community has set up to save lives, said Palestinian UN ambassador Riad Al-Maliki earlier this week.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson also believes that annexation will be a violation of international law, and so did Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi recently.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) is still hoping for a negotiated solution.
“Any acquisition of land using force is unacceptable and contrary to international law,” she told NTB earlier this year.
Netanyahu’s announced annexation has also been met with protests and demonstrations in Israel, among which former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is among those who have warned of the consequences.
– Those who claim that the Jordan Valley for security reasons is absolutely crucial to Israel, either live completely secluded from reality, or try to sell us a false history of non-existent dangers, he writes in Jerusalem Post.
– This is part of a false panic culture that is trying to imagine the Israelis that we are in constant existential danger and that, thank God, someone sees this danger and knows how to come up with a bold, Zionist and appropriate response, it writes formerly the Prime Minister.
Former head of Israel’s intelligence service Mossad, Tamir Pardo, former head of security services Shin Beth, Ami Ayalon, and Israel’s former US defense attaché Gadi Shamni have also moved out.
– Annexing the West Bank would threaten Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, anger our Gulf allies, undermine Palestinian self-government and jeopardize Israel as a Jewish democracy, the three wrote in Foreign Policy earlier this year.
“To risk all this, just to annex an area over which Israel previously has complete control, makes no sense,” the three write, calling Netanyahu’s plan “reckless.”