No Israeli annexations in West Bank "for some time," Kushner says
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured the U.S. he won't move forward with annexation in the West Bank without White House consent, and “we are not going to give him such consent for some time," Jared Kushner told reporters today.
Why it matters: Netanyahu agreed to suspend his annexation plans in order to strike a normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates, but stressed afterwards that the suspension was temporary.
- Kushner contended in a conference call today that Israel's focus is now on building relationships in the Arab World, not on annexation.
What he's saying: Kushner also said he expects Palestinian leaders to come back to the negotiating table now that Israel has given up its annexation plans.
Where things stand: Palestinian leaders have refused to speak to the White House since President Trump announced in 2017 that he'd be moving America's embassy to Jerusalem.
- They rejected the Trump peace plan, unveiled this January, and have resisted ongoing pressure from the Trump administration to negotiate over its proposals.
- Palestinian leaders have also emphatically opposed the Israel-UAE deal, as well as the idea that Israel's decision not to announce annexations was something to be celebrated.
What he's saying: Kushner insisted that the Palestinians got what they wanted on annexation, but still refuse to engage.
- “The Palestinian leadership’s credibility is falling to an all time low. There is a lot of frustration about the Palestinian leadership from their allies. I don’t see how their actions will lead to a better life for the Palestinians," he said.
What to watch: Arab countries had long conditioned normalization with Israel on ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinians are now concerned that more countries will follow the UAE, and they will lose their diplomatic leverage over Israel.