Israel does not have the greenlight from the US to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.
Israeli Public Broadcaster Kan reported Netanyahu making the revelation during a meeting with Jewish settler leaders, where he explained that the US only asked Israel to pledge to sit with the Palestinians and talk about the future of the remaining parts of the West Bank in return for its support for the annexation plan.
Netanyahu said that post annexation the US would refer to the remaining land as a Palestinian state but explained that he does not see it as such.
He stressed that the Israeli security control over the Palestinian land would remain as it is today.
Over the past weeks, right-wing settlers, including David Elhayani who chairs the so-called Yesha Council umbrella group of settler mayors, have opposed the conditions stated in the US “peace plan” arguing it would open the door for a Palestinian state while ending any expansion of Israeli settlements in much of the occupied West Bank.
Trump and his top Middle East adviser Jared Kushner “are not friends of Israel”, Elhayani told the Haaretz newspaper last week.
Netanyahu’s words appear to contradict those of senior US officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who, after a one day trip to Israel last month said: “The Israeli government will decide on the matter, on exactly when and how to do it.”
This came just weeks after US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said: “We are not declaring sovereignty – the government of Israel has to declare sovereignty. And then we’re prepared to recognise it… So, you have to go first.”