WASHINGTON (JTA) — A conservative pro-Israel think tank known to be influential with the Trump administration is set to publish a study that supports Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley.
The study from the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America, or JINSA, comes as the Trump administration’s top Middle East negotiators are set to meet to consider whether to back Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to launch annexation as soon as July 1.
Netanyahu has received mixed messages from the Trump administration over his plans, which would cover the strategic Jordan Valley and some Jewish settlements. Some U.S. officials have appeared to give him the nod, while others want the Israeli leader to give the Palestinians more time to buy into the Trump peace plan unveiled earlier this year. The plan allows Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, but as part of a final-status agreement.
The JINSA paper takes into account objections to annexation as expressed by U.S. politicians who believe the move could trigger regional instability, as well as King Abdullah II of Jordan, who has said annexation could rupture ties with Israel.
“As a security-focused policy organization, we wanted to look carefully and dispassionately at the issues, and have focused on applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, a sparsely populated but strategically important area comprising 15 percent of the West Bank, and reach a responsible answer to the question of whether the United States should support this move,” Michael Makovsky, JINSA’s president, said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
JINSA, with a staff, board of directors and board of advisers culled from top former Republican officials and retired military brass is known to be influential with the Trump administration. Last year, just before Trump proposed a mutual defense pact with Israel, JINSA published a report into how such a pact could be implemented.