Middle East Monitor / March 6, 2020
Senior White House officials were yesterday quoted by Israel’s Channel 13 as saying the US will back Israeli annexation of swathes of West Bank territory within months, if the Palestinians do not resume negotiations, reported the Times of Israel.
According to Channel 13, “the sources said they intend to go ahead with the implementation of the peace plan unveiled earlier this year by US President Donald Trump’s administration”.
The officials claimed that this would happen regardless of political developments in Israel, with both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz aware of the uniqueness of the opportunity.
“We will be able to convince them to do the right thing,” they said.
The television report added that Trump adviser Jared Kushner told “Republican and Democratic senators Wednesday in a closed briefing that the work of the Israeli-American joint team tasked with mapping the exact areas to be annexed would take several more months.”
Kushner reportedly declared that if Palestinians fail to return to negotiations, the process will continue regardless, and “the Palestinians will only be able to blame themselves”.
“Nobody can say we didn’t give the Palestinians an opportunity to return to the negotiating table,” said one White House source.
“If they want to come back and talk we are ready for that and we believe we could improve the plan for them. But if they don’t, we will continue moving ahead without them.”