Elkin Signals Major Annexation Move “Not Imminent”

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud). (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A Likud minister played down on Tuesday the likelihood of major moves to annex Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron on July 1, the planned starting point for Cabinet debate on the issue.

Minister Ze’ev Elkin said in an interview that Israel still did not have the green light it seeks from Washington to begin extending its sovereignty to these parts of the country.

“Whoever painted a picture of everything happening in one day on July 1, did so at their own risk,” Elkin told Army Radio when asked what would happen on Wednesday, July 1. “From tomorrow, the clock will start ticking.”

No Cabinet session for Wednesday has been announced.

U.S. officials are in Israel as part of the White House’s efforts to win consensus within its government for annexation as envisioned in an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan announced by President Donald Trump in January.

The proposal calls for Israeli sovereignty over about 30% of Yehudah and Shomron, as well as the creation of a Palestinian state under strict conditions.

Netanyahu and his main coalition government partner, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, are at odds over annexation, which the prime minister has promoted.

In an interview with Yediot on Tuesday, Gantz repeated his call for Israel to try to enlist Palestinian and international support for the Trump plan before proceeding with the annexation move.