Why did Netanyahu pull back on annexation?

Benjamin Netanyahu, making a statement to the press in Lod, 1 March 2020

Mottasem A Dalloul writes in Middle East Monitor:

Despite the opposition of many Israeli officials and world leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be determined to push ahead with his annexation of large parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank on 1 July. However, the date set for the annexation process to begin came and went, and nothing happened.

Commenting on Netanyahu’s failure to start the annexation, former Knesset member Aryeh Eldad said, “I want to say something to all admirers of Netanyahu, who were confident he was to impose Israel’s sovereignty on 1 July; this bling admiration is a personality cult. It is the way that was admired by Stalin.”

Reported by Ynet News, Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked said: “Gantz and the Arabs overpowered Netanyahu and thwarted the application of Israeli sovereignty to the region… July 1 will probably be remembered as the beginning of summer vacation and not the date when an historical move was made.” She told other media outlets that it was her wish that Netanyahu will exploit what’s left of Trump’s term in office to implement Israel’s sovereignty over parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

There have been many analyses of why the annexation did not happen when Netanyahu had promised it would. “Netanyahu has done an exceedingly poor job explaining his thinking, which may be responsible for the proliferation of theories trying to explain it,” said Haviv Rettig Gur in the Times of Israel. He criticised the unilateral annexation — as did the US administration — and pointed out that it was likely to reduce the number of Israel’s supporters.

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