Since the United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed to normalize relations, there has been much speculation about whether or not the deal included a pledge by Israel to not annex parts of the West Bank. Comments from US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman suggest that this is not the case.
When asked about Israel’s annexation plans in an interview on Wednesday, Friedman said, “I think it will happen … It’s a temporary suspension.” Friedman also bashed Palestinian leadership. “They need to join the 21st Century. They are on the wrong side of history at the moment.”
Since President Trump unveiled his “Vision for Peace” in January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had designs to unilaterally annex the sections of the West Bank allocated to Israel in the plan, which is about 30 percent of the territory. The plan was immediately rejected by Palestinians since it essentially makes apartheid rule official.
Netanyahu failed to follow through on a July deadline he set for annexation, lacking the full US support he would need to deal with the international backlash. Netanyahu’s political rival, Benny Gantz, who is set to take over as Prime Minister in 2021, also wants to annex these areas but favors a slower approach.