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Sa’ar says he’ll hold off on annexation if elected PM, though he supports move

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar says that if elected prime minister, he will respect the commitment made by his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend plans to annex large parts of the West Bank as part of normalization negotiations with the United Arab Emirates.

“I will not deny that I support the idea of implementing Israeli law over our communities in Judea and Samaria. It is something that continues to be an Israeli objective,” Sa’ar tells a webinar organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“But the prime minister committed himself in a dialogue with the Trump administration at the time… to suspend the idea of implementing sovereignty for a couple of years. As the prime minister of Israel I will respect the commitment that was given by an Israeli prime minister to an American administration.”

Netanyahu has yet to publicly reveal how long he agreed to shelve his annexation plans, but several officials with direct knowledge of the normalization negotiations told The Times of Israel that the US agreed to refrain from offering its blessing for the move until at least 2024.

New Hope leader Gideon Saar talks to a reporter during a visit to an outdoor shopping center in Ra’anana on February 8, 2021. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
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