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US team discusses annexation plan with Israel officials

Avi Berkowitz [Twitter]
Avi Berkowitz [Twitter]

US President Donald Trump’s Special Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz yesterday began meetings with Israeli officials to discuss Tel Aviv’s plan to annex large parts of occupied Palestinian West Bank, Israel Hayom reported.

Berkowitz arrived in Israel on Friday, together with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and other senior US officials.

He is to complete discussions started in the White House related to this issue, the Israeli newspaper said.

Meanwhile, the newspaper said due to the sensitivity of the annexation issue and its ramifications, a decision is still forthcoming on the scope and size of Palestinian land which is to be annexed.

Tzipi Livni: Annexation of West Bank a ‘historic mistake’

Several options are being discussed, the newspaper said, citing discussions about the Jordan Valley, whose annexation enjoys consensus among Israelis, but officials fear its seizure could damage Israel’s relation with Jordan.

It also cited discussions about the annexation of more remote settlements, noting that some believe Israel should put off their annexation and concentrate now on large settlements.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley from 1 July. Palestinians believe the area will cover more than 30 per cent of the West Bank.

In response to his announcement, the Palestinian Authority said that it is no longer bound by all agreements with Israel, including those relating to security.

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