US Has No Decision on Israel Annexation, Will Hold More Talks

Israeli officials remain 'split' on ramifications

A high-profile meeting of White House advisors was intended to stake out the US position on Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank. Instead, the meeting came and went, and no decisions are made but to have another meeting.

Ambassador Friedman, an advocate of annexation, has returned to Israel, while President Trump suggests more meetings will be had before the final decision is made. This is likely to involve some pressure for Israel to hold off on anything until the US figures out if it supports it or not.

That might not be hard. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favoring annexation, some top security chiefs are warning it will incite violence from the Palestinians, and while some are downplaying that risk, Israeli officials concede that they are split on the possible ramifications.

The Palestinians are more uniform in their opposition, with Hamas saying it is a criminal effort, and that they would view annexation as a “declaration of war on the Palestinian people.” Violent protests contesting the annexation of much of Palestine seems all but a given.

It is that concern which has some US officials looking to see Israel slow the annexation, taking only the settlements for now, and not formally closing the door to a Palestinian state. This would be meant to both allow everyone to maintain the pretext that more talks are still possible, and give the Palestinians an excuse to avoid doing something desperate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.