Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is undertaking efforts to receive official support from US President Donald Trump for Israeli claims on territories it controls in the West Bank ahead of next elections, scheduled for September, The Times of Israel reported citing an anonymous source in the prime minister’s Office.
According to the source, the Israeli prime minister is lobbying the move to secure solid support from right-wing voters, who are likely to praise the move that will strengthen Tel Aviv's hold on West Bank settlements, condemned by the UN.
"Ahead of the elections, something will happen. President Trump will repeat the statements by Friedman and Greenblatt in his own words. It will likely be dramatic", the anonymous source said, referring to earlier statements by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, both of whom mulled the possibility of Washington supporting Israeli claims to certain parts of the West Bank.
Friedman said in June that "under certain circumstances" Israel may "retain some, but unlikely all" of the West Bank territories. His statements were echoed by Greenblatt on 16 June though he noted that such plans should be postponed to until after Trump's "deal of the century" peace plan revealed.
Few details, except economic ones, have been released about the essence of this peace plan, but the Palestinian Authority's attitude to it has already been undermined by Trump's previous moves with regard to Israel. The US president namely recognised Tel Aviv's claims to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Following the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem last May, politicians in the Palestinian Authority denounced the US role as peace mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accusing Washington of bias towards Tel Aviv. Trump in response noted that no such bias existed and that Israel would have to make concessions to the Palestinians for all the things it received due to US efforts.
Israel is heading for new a general election on 17 September after Netanyahu's party Likud, which secured the most votes in April 2019 elections, failed to negotiate an alliance to ensure a majority in Parliament and form a government.