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March 6, 2017 10:47 am

Israeli Defense Minister Says Trump Admin Warned Against West Bank Annexation

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman, on February 18, 2014. Photo: Israel MFA.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. Photo: Israel MFA. – The Trump administration has warned Israel against pursuing unilateral moves across Judea and Samaria, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“We received a direct message that imposing Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria would result in an immediate crisis with the United States,” Lieberman told the committee Monday.

“Let me make my view perfectly clear: We need to separate from the Palestinians, not absorb them into our territory,” he said.

Lieberman noted that a comment by Member of Knesset Miki Zohar (Likud) — who said that in a one-state situation, Palestinians would be given all rights except the right to vote — has garnered international attention, and that as defense minister, he has been repeatedly asked whether Zohar’s remark represents the government’s position on the matter.

“You have to understand that imposing Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria means [absorbing] 2.7 million Palestinians, and I’m not even talking about the political implications, international law and the international community’s reaction to us not giving them the right to vote,” Lieberman said. “Under Israeli law, they will have to be given at least residency status, like the Palestinians in east Jerusalem. This means that from day one, Israel will have to pay them over 20 billion shekels ($5.4 billion) in social benefits like unemployment and health care.”

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