Netanyahu hints Israel’s major West Bank annexation may be delayed

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

"I discussed the question of sovereignty, which we are now working on and will continue to work on in the coming days", Netanyahu said after the meeting in another apparent playing-down of the 1 July start-date.

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.

"Application of sovereignty" is a euphemistic term used in Israel to refer to annexation, which is a violation of global law.

Netanyahu and his main coalition government partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, are at odds over annexation, which the right-wing prime minister has promoted.

"For Palestinian officials, annexation is still on the table, whether it happens gradually or delayed for weeks and months", said Al Jazeera's Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.

The letter further threatened to withhold "funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them".

Netanyahu has been eager to start the controversial process, which is in line with President Donald Trump's so-called Middle East plan, by Wednesday.

Zeev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said Israel still did not have the green light it seeks from Washington to begin extending its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, territory Palestinians seek for a state.

However, it was only to be carried out alongside moves towards creating an "independent" Palestinian state - albeit a heavily fragmented one with limited sovereignty.

What price will Israel pay for annexing the last of Palestine?

Qasim said that 1 July would be a "day of real rage" to counter the Israeli annexation plan and the United States 'deal of the century'. "This is not a peace plan from Netanyahu, it's an annexation, apartheid. and we will not sit on any table".

Hamas, which governs Gaza and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, says that Israeli annexations in the West Bank would be a "declaration of war".

But many Palestinians would argue that the annexation is merely a formality for what has already been happening on the ground in the West Bank for years.

"I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel's borders and will be contrary to Israel's own long-term interests".

France, Germany along with several other European states and the United Nations all oppose annexation, as do Gulf Arab states, despite increasingly warmer ties with Israel.

"Annexation would represent a violation of worldwide law", he said.

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