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Netanyahu: The United States Stopped Israel’s Annexation Plans

President Donald Trump listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the United States is the reason why Israel has failed to annex settlement communities in the West Bank – biblical Judea and Samaria.

“It was clear from the start that the application of sovereignty would be done only with agreement from the United States. Otherwise, I would have already done it a while ago,” Netanyahu said during an interview with Israel’s Channel 20.

Netanyahu’s government gave a self-imposed July 1st deadline to begin annexing parts of the West Bank as specified in President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The plan allows for Israel to annex up to 30% of the West Bank and calls for the creation of a disarmed Palestinian state.

However, as the deadline approached, it became clear that the US was apprehensive about giving Israel the green light to unilaterally apply sovereignty to these areas.

Now, with the United States grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, rioting, and an upcoming presidential election, Netanyahu said the Trump administration is not interested in advancing his government’s annexation plans.

“Trump is now busy with other things, and this [sovereignty] is not on the top of his mind,” Netanyahu said.

While annexation is not on the table now, it is still a priority for the prime minister.

“I hope that in the near future we will be able to advance recognition of the application of sovereignty as well as other diplomatic issues of importance to Israel."

The Palestinians have rejected Trump’s peace plan and condemn Israel’s efforts to annex territory they hope will one day be a part of their future independent state.

On Monday, PLO Executive Committee Secretary General Saeb Erekat met with British Consul General in Jerusalem Philip Hall. Erekat argued that Israel’s annexation plans should be prevented and peace talks should be centered on the borders Israel had before the Six-Day war in 1967. 

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