Israeli new ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday that plans to annex parts of the West Bank were still on the table, despite officials from the United States and United Arab Emirates indicating the move has been called off for the foreseeable future as part of the normalization deals the Zionist entity signed this week with the UAE and Bahrain.
Gilad Erdan, a former top member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party who is also set to take over as ambassador to the US, said that he had spoken to the premier about the matter.
“The annexation is not off the table. It can be discussed again after the US elections,” Erdan told Army Radio, referring to the November 3 vote in which US President Donald Trump faces Democrat Joe Biden.
“The annexation hasn’t been canceled, but it is off the Americans’ priority list,” he added. “We knew this can’t happen without cooperation from the Trump administration.”
Netanyahu had for months promised to annex large parts of the West Bank as early as July 1, but that plan was suspended as part of the normalization agreement with the UAE, as specified in the countries August 13 joint statement.
Trump said last month that the matter has been “taken off the table,” though Netanyahu insists that it remains “on the table.”
Hosting Netanyahu on Tuesday, and asked if annexation was now “off the table,” Trump replied: “We don’t want to talk about that right now, but that’s working out very well and very fair and very good for the people that are coming in [to the normalization deals] and for Israel.”
Israeli daily The Times of Israel quoted sources as saying that the Trump administration had recently given the UAE a commitment during normalization negotiations that Washington would not recognize an Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements until 2024 at the earliest.
According to the sources, Emirati officials, led by the UAE’s Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba, focused on seeking assurances from the US, rather than the Zionist entity, on the matter, the paper added.
Source: Israeli media