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President Donald Trump

The Yesha Council (Council of Judea and Samaria Communities) is holding an emergency meeting after the close of the Sabbath on Saturday night to discuss the apparent about-face by the Trump administration on the issue of Israeli application of sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and over the Jordan Valley.

White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner said Wednesday during an interview on PBS GZERO World that the US did not at all expect Israel to annex or apply sovereignty to settlements until after the upcoming election, scheduled for March 2.

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The announcement came just 24 hours after Kushner’s father-in-law, President Donald Trump, spoke in glowing terms about applying Israeli law to Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and in the Jordan Valley. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had followed up moments later by promising to send the matter to a cabinet vote this coming Sunday.

A senior Israeli diplomat passed off the US about-face to reporters Thursday as “just a technical problem”, saying it was because the Americans “don’t want to deal with a step-by-step phased-in annexation process” – which is typical of most Israeli bureaucracy – but rather want to approve recognition of an entire map at once.

“We are trying to reach an understanding with the Americans as quickly as possible,” the source said, according to Walla! News. “But we cannot apply the law to a specific area without the Americans examining it. We need to make sure we haven’t deviated from areas we weren’t supposed to take, and there are maps where we will have to make adjustments.”

Moreover, he said, Israel has been working the US on this project for three years. “No one knew we would be in this legal situation,” the source replied when asked how a prime minister involved in legal proceedings could promote political processes. “They wanted to announce this plan three times, and each time they got stuck because of our elections. A stable government in Israel is needed to move forward.”

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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.