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Mon Feb 12, 2018, 07:04 PM

Israel backtracks on Netanyahu's claim of settlement talks with Trump admin.

Source: Axios

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 news 6 hours ago

Israel is backtracking on Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement that he has been discussing the possibility of annexing the Jewish settlements in the West Bank with the Trump administration. After we reported on that claim, a U.S. official told me the U.S. hasn't received or agreed to any such proposals.


Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman, tells me: "Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the Presidentís focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative."

The backdrop: Netanyahu told lawmakers at a Likud faction meeting on Monday that the annexation discussions had been ongoing "for some time now," the first time he sounded support for annexation of the settlements as prime minister. Israel has refrained from annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, in part because of U.S. opposition.

An Israeli official now says that Netanyahu has been talking for some time with the Trump administration about Israel's national interest in a future peace deal with the Palestinians, but at no point but at no point did he present any specific annexation proposal, and the Trump administration has never agreed to such a proposal.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/israel-backtracks-on-netanyahus-claim-of-settlement-talks-with-trump-admin-1518457784-94cb9597-174c-413d-9e75-b310a2dfad1f.html?source=sidebar

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 news 4 hours ago

Rare rift: U.S. demanded Netanyahu backtrack on annexation claim

The Trump administration was stunned today to hear Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's statements about discussions he claimed to have had with the White House on annexation of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The bottom line: Israeli and U.S. officials told me senior Trump administration officials were unhappy, fearing the claim could derail Secretary of State Tillerson's trip to the Middle East, and gave Netanyahu and his advisers a clear demand to backtrack. The U.S. and Israeli governments had moved in lockstep on the Palestinian issue since Trump took office, until now.

How it happened

Netanyahu told lawmakers at a Likud faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday that he has been discussing the possibility of annexing the settlements with the Trump administration "for some time now." The details.

The Trump administration denied that such discussions had taken place, and Israel backtracked. We now know the Trump administration demanded they do so.

Behind the scenes

Although Netanyahu's political advisers were the ones who briefed the press about his initial annexation statements, the Prime Minister and his associates tried telling the White House his remarks were taken out of context, Israeli officials said.


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