Netanyahu said to hint annexation won’t begin July 1, as he’d previously pledged

June 30, 2020
TV report says PM told Likud lawmakers West Bank sovereignty bid is ‘a complicated process with lots of diplomatic and security considerations’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu May 24, 2020.

Times of Israel reports, “Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted to Likud lawmakers during Monday’s faction meeting that Israel will not begin moving forward with annexing parts of the West Bank on July 1, as he has repeatedly pledged, Kan news reported. “I have a positive and topical line of communication with the Americans and when I have something to report, I’ll report [it],” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the public broadcaster. “This is a complicated process with lots of diplomatic and security considerations that I can’t get into. We said that [annexation] would be after July 1.”

“One consideration, according to an unnamed source quoted by Kan, is the upcoming decision by the International Criminal Court on whether it has jurisdiction to launch a war crimes probe against Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Earlier in the meeting, Netanyahu said his coalition partners in the Blue and White party were “not a factor” in whether annexation of West Bank lands would go ahead as planned. The prime minister was responding to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said fighting the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout should take precedence over any political decisions regarding the West Bank.”…

Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, wearing a face mask

“Earlier Monday, Gantz told top US diplomats involved in discussions with Israel about annexation that the July 1 start date for the controversial step should be pushed back, citing the coronavirus crisis. “July 1 is not a sacred date,” Gantz told US Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz, according to a source close to the defense minister. “Dealing with the coronavirus and its socioeconomic and health consequences is the more pressing issue that needs to be attended to right now.”

“In public comments later in the day, Gantz said, at the Blue and White faction meeting, that “those things that are not related to the fight against coronavirus will wait until the virus is behind us.” His office later clarified that he was referring specifically to the annexation plan.” (more…)

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