Kushner: U.S. Won’t Approve Israeli Annexations for ‘Some Time’

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks during a press briefing on the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House in Washington, Thursday. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

The United States will not consent to Israeli annexations in Yehudah and Shomron for “some time,” preferring to focus on the Israel-UAE normalization deal and wider regional peace efforts, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates has said that its move to formalize relations with Israel, announced on Thursday, put paid to an annexation plan that had angered Palestinians, who want Yehudah and Shomron as part of a future state, and upset some world powers.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has cast the annexation plan – already dogged by disagreements within his governing coalition on the proposed timing – as temporarily on hold. But Israeli officials have signaled they want approval from Israel’s main ally the United States first.

“Israel has agreed with us that they will not move forward without our consent. We do not plan to give our consent for some time,” Kushner told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“Right now the focus has to be on, you know, getting this new peace agreement implemented,” he said.

“We really want to get as much interchange between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as possible and we want Israel to focus on creating new relationships and new alliances.”

The U.S.-UAE-Israel joint statement on the normalization deal said Israel had agreed to “suspend” the annexation plan.

“What you’re saying as suspension, we’re seeing as stopping,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters shortly after the deal was announced.