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US ambassador to Israel confirms annexation 'will happen' despite UAE-Israel deal

David Friedman is a passionate advocate of Israel's annexation of the West Bank [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 September, 2020

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David Friedman cast further doubt on UAE's claims that Israel's annexation plans have been paused, saying they will go along with US support.
The US Ambassador to Israel on Wednesday poured cold water on UAE claims that its normalisation agreement with Israel has suspended plans for the annexation of Palestinian territory.

David Friedman told Israel Hayom that he believed the annexation project - spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - "will happen".

“We had some obstacles because of the pandemic as well as some diplomatic difficulties,” Friedman added, noting the recent developments with the UAE.

The controversial ambassador added the US still deemed the annexation project to be the "correct move," adding that Israeli flags still fly above settlements across the West Bank.

"According to our vision for peace, they will continue to fly there," he said.

Friedman added that when the opportunity for normalisation between Gulf states and Israel arose, it needed to take precedence over the annexation project.

The ambassador, a lon-time friend of Donald Trump, has passionately encouraged the annexation project since taking his post in 2016.

Previously, he worked with an organisation called the American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which supports an illegal settlement outside the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Read also: Israel normalisation deals reflect the rupture between repressive regimes and Arab societies

The US president's so-called peace plan for the Middle East gave the green light for Israel to annex roughly 30 percent of the West Bank as part of a larger package of proposals, including negotiations with the Palestinians on a future state.

On announcing the normalisation agreement on 13 August, the UAE claimed the pact would suspend Israel's annexation project. However details of the deal published in the media indicate that there was no agreement regarding this.

Netanyahu said in August that Israel was "committed" to realising the controversial annexation plans, which he said were only temporarily postponed, not cancelled.

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