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Mossad chief to discuss Israel annexation plans with Arab leaders

Cohen will meet with Arab leaders to soften their position on Netanyahu's plans [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 June, 2020

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Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen will meet with Arab leaders in attempt to soften their position on Israel’s annexation plans, according to a report by Israel’s Kan broadcaster on Sunday.
The head of Israel's intelligence agency will be meeting with several Arab leaders, including Egypt and Jordan, to discuss his country’s plans to annex occupied Palestinian territories in the Jordan Valley and the West Bank, according to an Israeli media report.

Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen will meet with Arab leaders to assess and attempt to soften their position on Israel's plans to annex large swaths of the occupied West Bank
according to a report by Kan broadcaster on Sunday.

While the report did not name the officials Cohen will meet with, it said that he was "optimistic" about the meeting.

Israel is expected on July 1 to unveil its strategy for implementing a US Middle East peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump in January.

The plan - rejected wholesale by the Palestinians - gave the green light for Israel to annex West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, Palestinian territory occupied by the Jewish state since 1967. 

Last month, Cohen met with the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, during a secret visit to Cairo, according to sources close to the Egyptian government.

Cohen was projecting possible reactions to the annexation of illegal Israeli settlements and was trying to pre-empt potential reactions from Palestinian factions – especially Hamas.

Israel's biggest concern is that Palestinians will react violently, especially through conducting suicide operations – a tactic that was commonly used during the Second Intifada. Jerusalem is especially vulnerable to such retaliations, Tel Aviv fears. 

Israel's annexation plans have drawn international condemnation and the Palestinians are trying to mobilise support, particularly in Europe, to pressure Israel to abandon the project.

Arab states have long seen a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as their condition for normalisation of relations with Israel.

Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries to hold official relations with Israel, but Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been warming to the Jewish state recently amid shared concerns over Iran.

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