Israel

The big picture

Behind the scenes of Trump's shift on Israeli settlements

Rex Tillerson was opposed, but Pompeo gave the "green light"

Nov 19, 2019
Report finds uptick in "anti-Israel" activity on college campuses

American students ran at least 28 campaigns during the 2018–19 academic year to protest the Israeli government.

Nov 3, 2019
Top 2020 Dems wouldn't reverse Trump's Jerusalem embassy decision

Despite having chastised Trump for moving it to Jerusalem in 2017.

Jul 14, 2019

All Israel stories

European leaders urge Netanyahu against West Bank annexations

Macron (R) with Netanyahu. Photo: Haim Tzach - Pool/Getty Images

Several European leaders have sent personal letters to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent days warning him against annexing parts of the West Bank, Israeli and European officials tell me.

Why it matters: Netanyahu is hoping for a green light from the U.S. to move ahead on annexations as early as July 1, but the letters from the leaders of Italy, France, Spain and the U.K. are signals of the strong international pushback Israel would face.

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

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.

U.S., Russia, EU and UN to discuss possible summit on Israel-Palestine

Mahmoud Abbas (L) with Vladimir Putin in 2018. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

Officials from the U.S., Russia, EU and UN will hold a video-conference today to discuss the possibility of an international meeting to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Western diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: The meeting comes amid escalating tensions, with Israel threatening to move forward with annexations in the West Bank and Palestinian leaders announcing the suspension of all agreements with Israel and the U.S., including on security coordination.

Scoop: Russia floats summit to get U.S. and Palestinians talking

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Russian President Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has offered to facilitate a meeting in the next few weeks between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority, Western diplomats briefed on the Russian initiative tell me.

Why it matters: Dialogue was severed between the U.S. and the Palestinians two and a half years ago, and the Palestinians aren't taking part in negotiations on President Trump's peace plan. New talks could also offer a way to prevent escalation on the ground as Israel considers annexing parts of the West Bank.

Pompeo says he hopes security coordination between Israel and Palestinians continues

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press briefing Wednesday that he hopes security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians will continue, despite Palestinian President Abbas’ announcement on Tuesday that he would void all agreements with both Israel and the U.S. because of Israel's annexation plans.

Why it matters: Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the main pillars of the Oslo Accords and the relationship between the parties. The U.S. has been deeply involved in security coordination and has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and training to the Palestinian security forces over the last 25 years.

Palestinian president says all agreements with U.S. and Israel void due to annexation plans

Abbas (center) arrives at the UN in February. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday 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.

Why it matters: Abbas appears now to be following through on a drastic threat he had made previously, though it remains to be seen if and how his statement will be implemented.

Israeli ambassador lobbies for West Bank annexation, fearing Biden victory

Ron Dermer. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer has been lobbying Trump administration officials, members of Congress, conservative pundits and other D.C. influencers in recent weeks to convince them that Israel must move forward on annexations of parts of the West Bank before November's election, fearing that Joe Biden will defeat President Trump, according to three U.S. and Israeli sources.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Dermer, his closest confidante, are concerned that a Biden victory would dramatically shift U.S. policy on Israel and Palestine and that Israel must create facts on the ground before the U.S. elections.

Netanyahu calls for Israel to annex West Bank settlements at swearing-in ceremony

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Israeli government Sunday that now is the time to annex the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Unlike in previous speeches, Netanyahu didn’t mention his intention to annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up 20% of the West Bank.

Why it matters: In the last several days since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Jerusalem, Trump administration officials have signaled several times that they don’t want Israel to move forward on annexation at this moment. The State Department has said annexation should be part of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on the White House peace plan.

Discussions on West Bank annexation should be part of Israeli-Palestinian talks: State Dept.

The Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Photo: Ahmad Gharbali/Getty Images

The Trump administration thinks that discussions about Israel's possible annexation of the West Bank "should take place as part of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on the Trump peace plan," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told a group of Israeli reporters in a conference call on Friday.

Why it matters: The comments follow a series of public messages from the Trump administration in what looks like an attempt to signal to the new Israeli government that the U.S. does not support moving forward with annexation at the this time.

Jordanian king warns of "massive conflict" if Israel annexes parts of West Bank

King Abdullah II of Jordan said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank “will lead to a massive conflict with Jordan."

Why it matters: This is the harshest statement by the King regarding possible annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel. It comes days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel for talks with Israeli leaders and ahead of the swearing in of the new Israeli government on Sunday.

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