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US: Israel’s annexation plans still on the table

August 19, 2020 at 9:38 am

US special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt at the US Embassy in Jerusalem on 27 June 2019 [U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/Flickr]

Former US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, said yesterday that Israel’s annexation plans were suspended, not cancelled, Israeli media reported.

“I think it’s important to look at the word that was chosen by the three parties and the official statement, which is the word ‘suspend’,” Greenblatt was reported by Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post as saying.

“As you know,” he said, “I am myself a big proponent of recognising Israel’s sovereignty and application of Israeli law [in the occupied West Bank].”

He stressed, according to the paper, that Israel “never occupied Palestinian territories,” referring to the occupied West Bank.

These remarks echoed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks when he stressed that the annexation is still on the table and the Israeli-UAE normalisation deal did not stop it.

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About when Israeli should annex the West Bank, Greenblatt said: “You have to deal with this step by step. You have to re-educate the public from the decades of misinformation that was given out to the rest of the world about the reality of the conflict.”

He added: “I think we need to be patient and let the prime minister and the government of Israel do what they do best.”

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.