The New York Times: Concerning annexation, the green light turns yellow during Pompeo´s visit to Israel

David Halpfinger and Lara Geeks prepared a report published by the New York Times Thursday, May 14, 2020 under the title "Concerning annexation, the green (American) light turns yellow during Pompeo's visit to Israel" It was reported that the eight-hour visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (5/13) to occupied Jerusalem in a lightning round of meetings with Israeli leaders raised a question that no one touched upon to answer him: What is the most urgent and sensitive matter, in the midst of a pandemic? Viral, causing the top US diplomat to travel 16 hours to E. Rael rather than just pick up the phone? Officials and experts said the key was timing.

"The visit came on the eve of the appointment of Israel to its new government, a government that appears divided over the timing of annexing about 30% of the occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians relied on to form their future state, and it also came at a time when the US Donald Trump administration is facing increasing pressure from Arab leaders. On the Middle East to rein in Israeli annexation plans, "according to the report.

The report explains that "although Pompeo did his best to avoid publicly touching upon the issue of annexation, analysts saw the aim of the visit as a warning to the Israeli leadership against moving too quickly. Pompeo first met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who launched his campaign pledging to move forward. Go ahead with the annexation as soon as possible, and then with Benny Gantz, the alternate Prime Minister of the new government, who launched an anti-unilateral annexation campaign.

Without explicitly mentioning the need for Netanyahu and Gantz to slow down the process, the report seemed to suggest that Pompeo was alluding to the same thing, telling the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom newspaper that Netanyahu and Gantz should "find the way forward together".

It is noteworthy that Gantz, the former IDF chief of staff, ran against Netanyahu last month to join a unity government with him to fight the Corona virus pandemic. But their power-sharing agreement not only gave Gantz the right to overturn the annexation decision as his supporters had hoped, but instead only provides for Gantz's advice.

The report quotes Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, as saying: "Given Gantz's abdication of his right to veto the decision to join the coalition government agreement, Pompeo restores this right to him ... Pompeo gives him influence and authority over him."

The report also notes that "if the United States had given Netanyahu, in President Trump's peace proposal, a green light about the annexation, it might have now changed to a yellow light," citing what Dennis Ross, the former US negotiator, referred to "a certain pause" in the administration's approach. Trump after a series of diplomatic maneuvers that seemed designed to pressure Palestinian officials for new talks with Israel.

According to the report, "Ross said that the leaders of the neighboring Arab countries are urging the Trump administration to withhold its agreement to annex the West Bank - on the pretext that it will cancel regional security agreements, cause a new influx of Palestinians to Jordan, and in the end will dispel any hope for future negotiations" and that Ross, who said To the newspaper he talks with Arab and Israeli officials constantly, "A number of them share their opinion and say 'Don't do this - or at least, definitely do not rush to do this.'"

It is reported that Pompeo himself began to hint at the possibility that the immediate annexation would hinder the "Trump administration's vision of peace", which is its plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Asked about the annexation, he told the Israel Hayom newspaper, "We talked about ways to advance the peace plan, the Trump peace plan." He continued: "We have not only discussed the issue of annexation, but how we behave with the various stakeholders, and how one can ensure that action is taken in an appropriate manner to achieve an outcome consistent with the vision of peace."


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