ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Gantz warns of international backlash to annexation

Defense Minister Benny Gantz appears to express qualms about Israel’s push to annex parts of the West Bank in a meeting with settler leaders, but does not indicate he will make any moves to thwart it.

He says that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are working out agreements on the matter, and calls the US “our best friend, which backs us on fateful strategic matters and we will preserve this partnership.”

But he adds that Israel should be wary of a diplomatic backlash, especially from Amman, which has fumed and threatened to review its peace deal with Israel over annexation.

“When we make diplomatic moves, we need to listen well to what is being said on the ground and around us, and to keep the peace treaty with Jordan, for instance,” he says, according to a statement from his office. “These agreements contribute much to our regional security and stability.”

He also appears to speak out against rushing to annex illegal outposts before taking care of more pressing matters: “Our responsibility before we make a decision about annexation is to foster and aid places where people live legally in security and allow them normal lives.”

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