The discussion reportedly was held after Gantz instructed Israel’s IDF chief to begin annexation plans
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly held talks with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, over West Bank annexation plans on Monday, according to Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 13.
Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, was also reportedly included in the conversation.
During the discussion, according to Hebrew media sources, Kushner and White House officials urged Netanyahu “to greatly slow the process” of initiating Israeli annexation plans over West Bank territory, citing a number of challenges currently occupying the administration’s attention at the moment.
Angry and sometimes violent protests have broken out across major cities across the US in recent days over the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man in Minneapolis. More than 100,000 coronavirus fatalities across the country have also presented unprecedented challenges for the Trump administration.
The talks came just hours after Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the country’s top military general to start preparing plans involving West Bank annexation.
Gantz said he instructed IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi to also provide plans on how to manage various Palestinian responses if Israel ultimately decides to extend its sovereignty into parts of the West Bank.
Speaking at his Blue and White party faction meeting, Gantz said that both he and the premier are in touch with the Trump administration on how to best execute the White House’s vision for Middle East peace.
Under Israel’s current government coalition agreement, moves to carry out Israel’s annexation plans can begin after July 1.
Under the plan, Israel is given a green light to apply its sovereignty to a number of West Bank areas, including the Jordan Valley, in exchange for land swaps mostly located in the Negev desert.
Gantz voiced his approval for the plan at Monday’s meeting, saying that the US “Peace to Prosperity” plan was Israel’s best opportunity to finally establish its “permanent borders.”
At the same time, Gantz stressed the importance of maintaining ties with Israel’s neighbors and regional states.