During a news conference Thursday, US President Donald Trump said that Israel’s move to suspend its West Bank annexation was a “great concession.”
“It’s something they’ve discussed … Israel has agreed not to do it … great concession by Israel, smart concession by Israel … right now, it’s [West Bank annexation] off the table,” Trump said, also calling the preliminary peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday “historic” and stating that there could be a deal signed between the two nations in about three weeks.
“After half a century, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize [ties] … most important diplomatic breakthrough since the Egypt-Israel peace agreement was signed over 40 years ago,” Trump said.
In a statement released Thursday, the White House said, “This normalization of relations and peaceful diplomacy will bring together two of America’s most reliable and capable regional partners.”
“Israel and the United Arab Emirates will join with the United States to launch a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade, and security cooperation,” the statement added.
After Trump’s remarks, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman clarified that the Israeli annexation is “off the table now, but it’s not off the table permanently.”
An unnamed senior Israeli official on Thursday afternoon also reiterated that while Israel has agreed to hold off its annexation plans, the delay is only temporary.
“The sovereignty plan is still on the table, and we’re obligated to it,” the official said, according to Israel National News. “The Trump administration has asked us to temporarily delay the declaration in order to first reach the historic peace deal with the United Arab Emirates.”