Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, February 20, 2018.
(photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)
Israel has not formulated any specific plans to annex West Bank settlements, the country’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told reporters in New York on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised international and Palestinian ire with his campaign pledge to annex the portions of the West Bank's Area C, where all the settlements are located.
Danon told reporters that no plans had been drawn up for such a move - and that if steps would be taken, such a move would only happen after a new government is formed and after US President Donald Trump unveils his peace plan, dubbed the "deal of the century."
On Wednesday, US special envoy Jared Kushner told ambassadors in Washington that June was the earliest date by which the plan would be unveiled.
Kushner added that the plan called on both Israelis and Palestinians to make compromises. Netanyahu’s comments have raised expectations among the Israeli Right that he will make good on that campaign pledge after he formulates a government.
“Nothing is likely to happen before the peace plan comes out - which will come after the Passover holiday, and likely not until a new government is formed. PM Netanyahu has four weeks to form a government, and he can ask for a two-week extension after that,” Danon explained to reporters.
Netanyahu has already said that he has no intention of annexing the whole West Bank. The region is divided into three sections. Areas A and B, where the bulk of the Palestinian population lives, is under the autonomous control of the Palestinian Authority.
Area C is under Israeli military and civilian control. Palestinians hold that all of Area C should be within the final sovereign borders of their state, while Israel holds that some if not all of Area C should be within its borders.
Danon explained this nuanced position to reporters. “When speaking about annexation, we have to differentiate between the different areas in the West Bank. There are Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that can be a part of Israel. We are not talking about the Palestinian cities, such as Nablus and Ramallah,” he said.
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