Middle East Monitor / June 15, 2020
The US Ambassador to Israel, David M Friedman, and Israeli leaders failed to reach agreement on the annexation plan at a meeting yesterday, local media have reported. Friedman is known to support Israel’s illegal settlements built on Palestinian land. He has said in the past that Israel has the “right” to annex the settlement blocs, and “does not have to wait” to do so.
According to Channel 13 TV, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin as well as Friedman.
The Likud’s Netanyahu and Levin apparently presented several ideas to nominal centrists Gantz and Ashkenazi covering the scope of the annexation plan, with or without the Jordan Valley, the settlement blocs only and other configurations. However, Netanyahu was unspecific about his goals and presented no maps.
Although the Israeli leader was pushing for the annexation of as much Palestinian land as possible, Gantz and Ashkenazi have “no appetite for dramatic moves,” especially as the US has started to tone down its support for the plan.
Early on Sunday, it was reported that Friedman intended to reach an agreement on annexation acceptable to both sides. He said that he had met with Ashkenazi on Thursday for the same purpose.
The meeting is set to reconvene on Monday to continue the discussion.