The announcement today by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, that the Trump administration warned Israel that imposing sovereignty over the West Bank would cause an “immediate crisis” between the U.S. and Israel, is spreading like wildfire.
Newsweek reported the warning pointed to “a red line for the Trump administration in its relationship with the Israeli government”:
“We received a direct message… imposing Israeli sovereignty [on the West Bank] would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Lieberman told the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “The coalition should clearly state that there is no intention to impose [Israeli] sovereignty.”
The warning came after Likud KM Miki Zohar, who advocates annexation, stated on Israeli television Channel i24 last night that the two state solution was “dead” and Palestinians, while not having full citizenship, would nonetheless enjoy rights like every citizen, except for the right to vote for the Knesset — unless they serve in the army or to “serve the country” which he hastened to assure viewers they would not do.
Lieberman noted he’d been getting calls from “all of the world wanting to know if this is the position of the coalition,” continuing,
“[W]e need to separate from the Palestinians and not to integrate them. The decision to annex Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] would mean the integration of 2.7 million Palestinians in Israel.”
Rather confusing messaging from the Trump administration. Just last month Trump said he’d be “happy” with a one state solution “if Israel and the Palestinians are happy”. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley later walked that back, saying that the policy was still, two-state solution. Maybe Trump heard Palestinians are not happy. We may be hearing more on this latest development soon as Lieberman is due to meet with top U.S. administration officials this week in Washington.