By Times of Israel—
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to discuss a possible annexation of parts of the West Bank with the US administration, his office said in a statement Wednesday, the target day the premier had set to begin the contentious process.
At the same time, Netanyahu convened top Israeli security brass, including National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat on Wednesday, to discuss the issue, the statement said.
“In the coming days there will be additional discussions,” it added.
The statement came amid uncertainty over whether Israel will ultimately follow through on the explosive annexation initiative, which has drawn fierce condemnations from some of Israel’s closest allies.
Earlier, Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Ofir Akunis confirmed to Army Radio that the annexation process would not begin on Wednesday, saying that officials were still working out the final details with their American counterparts. He said he expected the annexation to take place later in July.
“Coordination with the American administration is not something that can be dismissed,” said Akunis who under the unity government deal is expected to become minister for regional cooperation at the end of the year.
Netanyahu had aimed to start the process by July 1, saying he wanted to begin annexing West Bank territory in line with US President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan. The plan, unveiled in January, envisions bringing some 30 percent of the territory — covering all 132 settlements, home to 450,000 Israelis, and the strategic Jordan Valley — under permanent Israeli control, while conditionally giving the Palestinians statehood in the remaining West Bank land and additional territory inside Israel. Continue Reading…