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Rare rift: U.S. demanded Netanyahu backtrack on annexation claim

Netanyahu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Trump administration was stunned today to hear Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's statements about discussions he claimed to have had with the White House on annexation of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The bottom line: Israeli and U.S. officials told me senior Trump administration officials were unhappy, fearing the claim could derail Secretary of State Tillerson's trip to the Middle East, and gave Netanyahu and his advisers a clear demand to backtrack. The U.S. and Israeli governments had moved in lockstep on the Palestinian issue since Trump took office, until now.