Press Release: APN Exhorts Trump Administration to Shut Down Israeli Moves toward Annexation

Americans for Peace Now (APN) exhorts the Trump Administration to make clear to the Israeli government, in the strongest possible terms, that annexation of any portion of the West Bank is completely unacceptable to the United States. 

According to comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, his government has been engaged in discussions with the Trump Administration “for some time now” regarding annexation. This marks the first time Netanyahu has indicated his support for settlement annexation. His statement appears to have caught the White House by surprise and elicited a denial from an administration spokesman that the US had discussed an annexation proposal with Israel. While an Israeli official agreed that the US had not given its approval to any of the various annexation bills up for consideration by the Knesset, that official clarified that Israel has kept the White House briefed on the Knesset bills.

President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now Debra DeLee said, “It is becoming ever more apparent that Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition is careening toward annexing the West Bank. Such a move, which would be regarded by the international community as illegal under international law, would kill prospects for a two-state solution and as such undermine Israel’s security and its status as a Jewish state and a democracy. Left to its own devices, the most right-wing government in Israel’s history is likely to follow its messianic impulses to this disastrous end. 

“That is why it is absolutely essential that the Trump Administration communicate to the Israeli government that it will not tolerate any steps toward annexation. Successive Democratic and Republican administrations have recognized that the American national interest is best served by a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

“We take small comfort from White House spokesman Josh Raffel’s response to Netanyahu’s revelation of ongoing Israeli-US discussions on annexation. He stated, “We warn against such a move because it would destroy any international effort to save the peace process.” The fact, however, that such discussions have been taking place and left Prime Minister Netanyahu with the impression that, if properly coordinated with the Trump Administration, the US would acquiesce to some form of annexation, is deeply concerning. 

“The Trump Administration must be unequivocal in both its public statements and its private discussions with Israeli officials that the United States regards annexation as entirely unacceptable.”