Kushner (L) with Netanyahu in 2017. Photo: Israeli Prime Ministry via Getty
The White House held talks with Israel's new government today, a month from its July 1 deadline to begin the process of annexing parts of the West Bank, to take the pulse on the Israeli side, U.S. and Israeli officials tell me.
Why it matters: The Trump administration has not yet decided whether it will give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the green light he is seeking to move forward on annexation.
- U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met today with Benny Gantz, Israel's defense minister and alternate prime minister, to discuss the annexation issue.
- Several hours later, Friedman, Jared Kushner and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz had a conference call with Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.
Behind the scenes: Following those conversations, an Israeli official told me his impression is that the White House has cooled on annexation and wants to slow down the process before making a final decision.
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.
- Netanyahu said last week that this timetable is not going to change.