Israel’s Annexation Plans Go On Hold

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to begin annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1 have not come to pass … yet. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz told US Special Envoy for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz and Scott Leith of the National Security Council that he did not see “July 1 was a holy date,” saying fighting coronavirus and bringing down unemployment are higher priorities. Berkowitz and Leith were in Israel at the end of June to meet with Israeli leaders regarding the annexation plans. Reported by The Jerusalem Post. Read more… Netanyahu also met with Berkowitz and Leith, saying later that they “spoke about the question sovereignty, which we are working on these days and we will continue to work on in the coming days,” sending a clear signal that annexation would not begin July 1. Reported by The Jerusalem Post. Read more… Also reported by The Washington Post. Read more… A June 10 article by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency gives some insight into what annexation could look like when it begins. Reported by the JTA.Read more…

New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several other top Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Israel’s planned annexation. The letter warned there would be severe consequences for Israel if the nation continued its plan to annex parts of the West Bank. “Should the Israeli government continue down this path, we will work to ensure non-recognition of annexed territories as well as pursue legislation that conditions the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not supporting annexation in any way,” the letter said, continuing, “We will include human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them.” The letter was also signed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

The U.K.’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, appealed to Israel to reconsider its decision to annex parts of the West Bank, saying it would be a “violation of international law.” He also said that the U.K. would not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders in the West Bank that were not agreed to by both the Israelis and Palestinians. Reported by The Guardian. Read more… And France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, called Netanyahu on Friday to discuss annexation, urging the Israeli prime minister to step back from annexation because “such a move would contravene international law and jeopardize the possibility of a two-state solution as the basis of a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…