Photo Credit: PMO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Knesset members at a Likud party faction meeting on Monday that he’s been talking with American officials about applying sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria “for some time.”

According to a government spokesperson quoted by AFP, Netanyahu said he wanted to coordinate any such “historic” move with the United States due to America’s strategic importance to Israel.

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However, the White House said in a statement on Monday, “Reports the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.”

Likewise, an Israeli official hurried to clarify that Netanyahu “did not present the United States with specific annexation proposals, and in any case the United States did not give its consent to the proposals.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Monday night, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu updated the Americans on the initiatives being raised in the Knesset, and the Americans expressed their unequivocal position that they are committed to advancing President Trump’s peace plan.”

Five weeks ago, the Likud Central Committee approved a resolution compelling the Likud representatives in the Knesset and the government to promote applying Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

The Prime Minister’s Office last week worked hard to persuade Knesset member Yoav Kisch (Likud) to remove from the agenda a bill that would impose Israeli sovereignty over the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria. This past Sunday the cabinet also voted unanimously to postpone their debate on the measure, dubbed the “Sovereignty Law.”

Meanwhile, AFP quoted the unnamed Israeli official as saying that from the prime minister’s perspective, “If the Palestinians persist in their refusal to negotiate peace, Israel will present its own alternatives.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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