WASHINGTON – Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer is lobbying Republican lawmakers and White House officials, arguing that Israel should act swiftly with the annexation of settlements in the West Bank, Israel Channel 13 reported on Monday.
According to the report, Dermer said during his meetings in Washington: “We need to move ahead with annexation now because we don’t know what could be the outcome of the presidential elections in November.
“Joe Biden might win,” he reportedly said. “There is a narrow window, and we should act now,” Channel 13 reported. Dermer’s office did not respond to a request for a comment from The Jerusalem Post.
An administration official told the Post that Dermer expressed Israel’s desire to move ahead with applying its sovereignty to the settlements. “He said that it should be done, and the quicker the better,” the official said. “He did not necessarily mention any connection to the upcoming elections,” the official added.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a briefing with Israeli journalists on Friday that if Israel were to apply its laws to West Bank settlements, it should be part of a team of Israelis and Palestinians working together towards fulfilling US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
“We think these discussions should be part of the peace process, part of discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Ortagus noted.
The State Department spokeswoman emphasized this point more than once, saying: “We really think annexation should be part of a peace process where Palestinians should have a say.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to bring annexation of West Bank settlements to a vote as soon as possible, in his remarks during the first cabinet meeting of the new government on Sunday. “I have not hidden my intention to bring it to the cabinet as soon as possible,” Netanyahu said.