Ashkenazi: Annexation not on the agenda today or tomorrow

Peace is not a dirty word, foreign minister says, calling to negotiate.

Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel will not extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank in the coming days, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said on Monday.
“It’s not on the agenda for today or tomorrow,” Ashkenazi told KAN Bet.
Asked if sovereignty plans have been called off entirely, Ashkenazi said: “I don’t know, but I can say the Foreign Ministry is preparing diplomatic assessments and the Defense Ministry is preparing security assessments. It has deep ramifications.”

The coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White states that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have brought sovereignty to a cabinet or Knesset vote on July 1 at the earliest. US President Donald Trump’s plan would allow Israel to extend its law to 30% of the West Bank, including all settlements and the Jordan Valley. However, it is unclear whether Israel will take the full step described in the “Vision for Peace” or a smaller one, if at all.
July 1 passed with no action, but US Envoy for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz returned to Washington soon after for further discussions on the matter, after which Trump would weigh in. A US source told The Jerusalem Post that a decision would be announced this week.
Ashkenazi said he has spoken to over 30 foreign ministers, mostly from Europe.
“I hear what they say, and I think it’s clear what we’re facing,” in terms of their opposition to sovereignty moves, he said. “We will take it into consideration when we make decisions.”
“I think the government of Israel, led by Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz will make sure to enact a responsible, measured process. We will hear the evaluations and then act,” Ashkenazi stated.
The foreign minister reiterated his support for the Trump plan, saying it “responds to the two things that concern most of the population in Israel, security and maintaining a Jewish majority.”
Ashkenazi said the plan has to include “negotiations with our neighbors,” but he did not mention the Palestinians specifically, and said it will form a “separate entity,” not necessarily a Palestinian state.
“We believe in a process that will bring peace, and that is not a dirty word,” he said. “We don’t want to damage the peace treaties with our neighbors.”
Ashkenazi added that “Blue and White will support anything bringing us towards the goal we believe in, a Jewish state that is democratic and safe.”