Report: Trump Administration Seeking to Apply Brakes on Israeli Annexation
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke by phone with US senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner, the architect of Washington’s Middle East peace plan. According to Israeli media, the focus of the call, which included numerous high-ranking officials from both sides, was if and when Netanyahu plans to follow through on his stated intention to annex about 30% of the West Bank. US officials have for months indicated that the decision to apply sovereignty over Palestinian-claimed areas was Jerusalem’s alone to make and that President Donald Trump would immediately recognize the move. However, the administration is reportedly now seeking to “downplay enthusiasm” for and “greatly slow the process.” While the reports cited as reasons the White House’s current preoccupation with nationwide race-related protests and the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rumors have circulated that a faction within the White House is fearful that the annexations, if advanced, could ignite violence and further destabilize the region. Despite growing international calls to put a halt to the initiative, Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with the annexations in July.