Netanyahu was quoted as saying on Tuesday that discussions with Washington on his plan to annex occupied West Bank territory would continue “in the coming days,” indicating he would miss a July 1 target date. Netanyahu made the comments shortly after wrapping up talks with White House envoy Avi Berkowitz and the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, AP reported.
France has warned that any Israel annexation of the West Bank “could not be left without consequences” and said that it is “examining different options” at a national level and with its European partners.
“Annexation of Palestinian territories, whatever the perimeters, would seriously throw into question the parameters to resolve the conflict,”Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.
Israel plans to annex as much as 30 percent of occupied Palestinian territory, which has been met with disapproval from much of the international community, including the UK and EU.
Israel’s minister of higher education has also played down the likelihood of major moves to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank on July 1, the planned start date for a cabinet debate on the issue.
“Whoever painted a picture of everything happening in one day on July 1, did so at their own risk,” Zeev Elkin told Army Radio when asked what would happen on Wednesday. “From tomorrow, the clock will start ticking.”
Elkin, a member of PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said on Tuesday Israel still does not have the green light it seeks from Washington to begin extending its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. Palestinians are seeking the territory for their state. No Israeli cabinet session has been announced for Wednesday.