Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.
Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The big picture: The coalition deal that allowed Netanyahu to form his new government says he can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on annexation up for a vote in his Cabinet or the Knesset as early as July 1 — but only with the full agreement of the White House.
- Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, has been lobbying American officials in recent weeks to back annexation, fearing that the plan could be derailed if Joe Biden wins the presidency in November.
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that the Palestinian Authority considers itself free of all agreements and understandings with both Israel and the U.S. — including on security matters — because of Israel's annexation plans.
What he's saying: Netanyahu told the meeting that Israel has the biggest opportunity since 1948 to annex the West Bank and stressed he will not let this opportunity pass.