Kushner 'pleaded' with Netanyahu to slow annexation: report

Kushner 'pleaded' with Netanyahu to slow annexation as US grapples with nationwide crises: report
2 min read
02 June, 2020
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu was allegedly told to slow down the controversial annexation process, according to an Israel Channel 13 report.
Kusher allegedly told Netanyahu the Trump administration sought to "downplay" enthusiasm for immediate annexation [Getty]
Jared Kushner told Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to "greatly slow the process" of unilateral annexation of large parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, according to an Israel Channel 13 report on Tuesday. 

In a conference call, Kushner and other White House officials informed Netanyahu that the Trump administration sought to "downplay the enthusiasm" for imminent annexation as it grappled with spiralling domestic problems.

On Monday, the US leader declared he was ready to use military force to restore "law and order" following mass anti-racism protests which have engulfed the country since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man from Minnesota, who died after being held down by multiple police officers.

The US is also the country hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, recording over 100,000 fatalities.

According to the Israeli Channel 13 report, which cited unnamed government sources, White House adviser Jared Kushner was joined by ambassadors for both countries' diplomatic missions, as well as White House Middle East peace negotiator David Friedman.

When the officials asked Netanyahu if and how Israel would move forward with annexation, they received no answer.

The frantic exchange allegedly came hours after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered the country's top military general to lay down plans on how to manage the Palestinian's anticipated response against Israel's avowed extension of sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank. 

Read more: Israel Gantz tells army to prepare to annex the occupied West Bank

Netanyahu has announced that he will annex parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and dozens of Israeli settlements, in line with Trump's self-styled 'Deal of the Century'.

An Israeli coalition agreement states that his government can act on its plans from 1 July.

Trump's deal gave Israel the green light to impose sovereignty over about one-third of the West Bank, which it captured in 1967. Meanwhile, Palestinians would be granted limited autonomy over the remaining patches of territory.

The Palestinians, who seek all of the West Bank as part of an independent state, have rejected the plan, saying it unfairly favours Israel.

Israel's closest allies have harshly criticised the plan, and say that unilaterally redrawing the Middle East map would destroy any lingering hopes for establishing a Palestinian state and reaching a two-state peace agreement.

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