Report: Senior U.S. Officials to Hold Landmark Meeting on Israeli Annexation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Senior advisor to the President of the United States, Jared Kushner, stands on stage at the TIME 100 Summit on April 23, 2019 in New York City. The day-long TIME 100 Summit showcases the annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people …
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TEL AVIV – Senior Trump administration officials will hold a meeting this week on whether or not to approve Israel’s decision to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, Israeli media reported.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will travel to Washington and meet with Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in a series of meetings Monday and Tuesday, Channel 13 diplomatic reporter Barak Ravid told the Axios website, citing both Israeli and American sources.

According to Ravid, President Donald Trump is also expected to take part in some of the discussions, “and will make the final call on any decision.”

While Pompeo returned from his trip to Israel last month with many reservations about annexation, the report said, sources say he has since shifted his position to reflect that of Friedman, who has expressed his support for the plan.

“Kushner’s position is unclear. He is not ideologically opposed to annexation but is deeply invested in the Trump peace plan and wants to make sure Israel’s steps don’t undermine it,” Ravid said.

One of the main points of discussion will be the lack of consensus on the matter between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, the report went on.

Netanyahu still doesn’t have a consensus within his coalition as to how or when annexation should take place. According to the coalition deal struck with Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, the measure can be advanced as early as July 1.

The Trump administration’s so-called “vision for peace” sees Israel annexing 30 percent of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. It also delineates a demilitarized Palestinian state established on most of the West Bank with parts of eastern Jerusalem that are outside the Israeli security fence as its capital.

If Israel goes ahead with the plans, the Palestinian leadership warned that it would unilaterally declare a state based on the pre-1967 lines. Jordan has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with the plan, raising concerns that the Hashemite Kingdom may even cancel its peace treaty with the Jewish state.

Several European states have also warned both Israel and the U.S. against the move.

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