(April 29, 2020 / JNS) Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said on Tuesday that he hopes Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi—Israel’s new defense minister and foreign minister, respectively—will persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to move forward with annexing parts of the West Bank.
“My hope would be that Ashkenazi as foreign minister and Gantz as defense minister—in what will be internal deliberations—given their deep experience in the [Israel Defense Forces] and given the security consequences of an abrupt move, would caution [Netanyahu] against some significant step like this,” said Coons, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He commented on the issue during a webinar hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America that also included former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who is currently serving as senior foreign-policy advisor for presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Regarding how a Biden administration might react to West Bank annexation, Coons said “it’s hard to exactly prejudge the circumstances on the ground as of January of next year, and we only have one president at a time.”
Blinken said he is “not going to prejudge what we might do or not do in the context of a Biden administration,” as “lots of things can happen between now and then.”
Nonetheless, he reiterated the fact that the former vice president “has been literally opposed to annexation” and has been “on the record several times [that] unilateral steps taken by either side that makes the prospect of a negotiated to a two-state outcome less likely is something he opposes, and that includes annexation.”
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