Trump adviser says “annexation was not taken off the table”

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Senior adviser to the President of the United States and his Special Envoy for Negotiations in the Middle East, Avi Berkowitz, told Israeli Army Radio on Thursday that the application of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank had not been dropped.

“The annexation was not taken off the table,” Berkowitz stated. “It’s something that can be done later, it’s not something we disagree on,” Israeli media quotes him as saying.

Berkowitz also mentioned behind-the-scenes contacts with other Arab countries towards normalization of relations with Israel, saying: “The president was asked about it and replied, ‘We are in talks with five to ten countries.’ I can confirm that this is true.”

While he declined to name the countries, he said that there were detailed conversations, which advance this goal.

Berkowitz touched on the two agreements of alliance and normalization of relations between “Israel” and between the UAE and Bahrain, which were signed at the White House in the middle of last month. “There is no doubt that there has been momentum brought by the UAE,” he said. This led to the Bahraini agreement. In fact, I got a phone call from them on the day we struck the deal with the Emiratis, and they said, ‘We want too.’

Regarding the US sale of F35 aircraft to the UAE, within the framework of the alliance and normalization agreement, Berkowitz considered that “everyone knows that the Emiratis have wanted these aircraft for many years, but this was not part of the deal. This is something we are studying to implement, but this is a matter of logic and can only happen if it does not put Israel’s security at risk.