West Bank annexation appears to be off the table for now, after the U.S. brokered a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Why it matters: Trump spoke about for annexation for the first time since presenting his peace plan on January 28. However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed gave contradictory remarks about the annexation in their statements on the deal.
- Netanyahu characterized it as a temporary suspension, while Bin Zayed said the deal stopped annexation.
For the record: Trump twice deferred questions about the differences between Israel and the UAE to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who said: “We prioritized peace in the region over West Bank annexation...you can't have peace and annexation at the same time"
What Trump is saying: “Israel agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank. It is more than taking it off the table — they agreed not to do it. This is a very smart concession by Israel. It is off the table now”.
What the U.S. ambassador is saying: Annexation is off the table now but might be discussed again in the future.
What's next: Trump also said at the press conference he wants to convene a summit between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House in three weeks to sign the deal.
- The U.S. president sees the Israel-UAE deal as one of his landmark foreign policy achievements and a boost his election campaign.
- Trump said more Arab countries are already talking to the White House in order to follow the UAE and normalize relations with Israel.