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.

Go deeper: European leaders urge Netanyahu against West Bank annexations

Go deeper

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Jimmy Carter condemns Israel's planned annexation of parts of West Bank

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the White House in 1979. Photo: Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement on Wednesday calling Israel's planned annexation of up to 30% of the West Bank a "massive, illegal expropriation of Palestinian territory" that would jeopardize peace treaties and mark the end of any possible two-state solution.

Why it matters: Carter famously brought the leaders of Egypt and Israel together for secret negotiations that resulted in the 1978 Camp David Accords. His statement echoes sentiments expressed by the United Nations, the European Union and Arab nations who believe that annexation will deal a devastating blow to peace efforts.

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