Trump administration meetings on whether to back annexation end without a conclusion


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration still isn’t sure if it will back Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to annex parts of the West Bank.

Top administration officials who met this week to consider the decision came up with no conclusive answer, although there was an indication that the team would approve a degree of annexation.

A senior administration official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email Thursday that the meetings were “productive,” and that the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, would be returning to Israel that night with two other members of the team, special envoy Avi Berkowitz and Mapping Committee member Scott Leith, for further meetings and analysis.

“There is yet no final decision on next steps for implementing the Trump plan,” the official said.

The reference to the mapping team, which was created as part of the peace deal that President Donald Trump unveiled earlier this year to determine what parts of the West Bank should be incorporated into Israel, suggests the team is seeking to approve some form of annexation.

Also participating in the meeting were Jared Kushner, the peace plan architect, and Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser.

Netanyahu, who wants to launch the annexation on July 1, believes that Trump’s peace plan allows it. There have been mixed signals from the administration, with some statements indicating that the president would prefer Netanyahu to wait until the Palestinians are ready to negotiate.

Recommended from JTA