Netanyahu, Gantz meet with U.S. envoy over West Bank annexation

Israeli leaders sit down with David Friedman as PM’s planned July 1 start date for unilateral move nears and international pressure mounts against application of sovereignty to the region

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz met on Sunday with U.S. envoy David Friedman to discuss the planned annexation of territory in the West Bank.
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  • Also present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    U.S. envoy to Israel David Friedman and Prime Minister Netanyahu
    (Photo: EPA)
    The meeting concluded with no official statement released. Another meeting was scheduled for a later date.
    On Monday, foreign ministers of the European Union are expected to hold a conference call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which Washington unveiled in February.
    In a meeting between German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Netanyahu last week, the visitor warned Israel of implementing annexation, stressing it is “incompatible” with international law.
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    בני גנץ נפגש עם שר החוץ הגרמני הייקו מאס בקריה בתל אביב
    בני גנץ נפגש עם שר החוץ הגרמני הייקו מאס בקריה בתל אביב
    Defense Minister Gantz and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
    (Photo: The Defense Ministry)
    On Friday, The United Arab Emirates also joined the warning calls, with its Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba calling Jerusalem to choose between annexation and normalization with the Arab world.
    Another voice that had come out in opposition to the U.S. initiative was that of the West Bank settlers' leadership, who implored Netanyahu to heed their advice.
    “We all want you to be the first prime minister who applied sovereignty, but we don’t want you to be remembered as the prime minister who laid the foundations of a Palestinian State,” Yesha Council (the umbrella body of settlement municipal councils in the West Bank) said in a statement released ahead of the premier’s meeting with Friedman.
    First published: 18:57, 06.14.20
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