White House Special Counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks to news reporters during a press gaggle outside the West Wing at the White House in Washington, US, June 17, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Conway added that conversations regarding Israel's decision to annex 30% of the West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley are currently ongoing.
US President Donald Trump will make a big announcement on the Middle East based on current talks, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told reporters on the White House lawn on Wednesday.Asked about the possibility of Israel extending its civil law to parts of the West Bank, Conway said: “We are having conversations, there are conversations being had. Obviously, the president will have an announcement. He's talked about this in the past, and I’ll leave it to him to give you a big announcement, and we’re very happy these talks continue.” Read More Related Articles
Conway, who is not generally involved in foreign policy matters, spoke as US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was in the US to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, special adviser to the president Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz to discuss what kind of sovereignty moves from Israel the US should support.They will also discuss whether to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to move forward even if Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz does not agree, because the prime minister has enough votes without Gantz, who supports a smaller sovereignty push. Trump is expected to make a decision on the matter.Conway said she spoke to “someone on the ground in Israel” who said such advanced talks on sovereignty “couldn’t even be had without the last three and a half years of President Donald Trump being the best friend to Israel, to quote Mr. Netanyahu, that Israel's ever had.”Conway spoke hours after top United Nations officials warned that Israeli sovereignty would ignite the Middle East, with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit predicting it would spark a "religious war." Conway dismissed such fears, noting that similar warnings had been issued when Trump relocated the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."The same thing was predicted, that there would be mayhem and murder and death and destruction,” Conway said. “When [the president] pulled out of the Paris [Climate] Accords, 'we're all going to die,' the next day we're going to melt to death. He moves the embassy to Jerusalem, 'the Arab world is going to disappear,' thank God that wasn't true.”Conway added: “There is always this scare tactic, shock the conscience tactic, of all the bad that's going to happen. Thankfully, thank God, we still mention Him in our White House, and let's just say because the president wants to be…an agent for peace.”Trump’s peace plan would allow Israel to extend sovereignty to 30% of the West Bank, including all settlements and the Jordan Valley. The rest would be reserved for the Palestinians for four years, during which they would be expected to meet certain conditions - stopping incitement and payments to terrorists, giving citizens civil rights - before establishing a state and receiving a massive aid package.The coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White states that Netanyahu can bring sovereignty to a vote on July 1 at the earliest date, with American approval.Netanyahu is under pressure from politicians to his right, including prominent settler leaders, to dismiss the US sovereignty map published in January when its plan was unveiled unless substantive changes are made to it such that no settlements would remain Israeli enclaves within Palestinian territory. They have also expressed strong opposition to agreeing to the part of the Trump plan calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state.“I call on US President Donald Trump, who through his important actions on behalf of the State of Israel in recent years has proved to be a true friend, to support a sovereignty process that would be good for Israel,” Elhayani said.On Wednesday, Pompeo said that the application of West Bank sovereignty was an Israeli decision.Elhayani called on Trump to allow Israel to do just that.“The people of Israel have to advance the application of Israeli law over Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley, as it deems appropriate - without a Palestinian state or a construction freeze and or isolated settlements. Applying sovereignty is the right move,” Elhayani said.UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash told CNBC that Israeli annexation would be a “total disaster” adding that his country has done its best to send that message to the Israeli public and its government.“We are urging the Israeli government and the Israeli public to reconsider and to look beyond the sort of immediate gratification that certain groups, their ideology brings, and to think long term,” he said.Israel should consider it wants a stable two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or does it want one state, with equal rights for Palestinians, which is what will happen if annexation moves forward, he said. Gargash said his country is bound by the 2002 Arab Peace plan, “so we have done everything we can and engaged ferociously and diplomatically to make it clear that a country that is moderate like the UAE is very concerned,” he said.The whole consensus really of a two-state solution, of a negotiated settlement will be broken down by this unilateral action, he said.“We have sent all the right messages,” Gargash said, but at the end of the day, this is a matter that is up to the Israelis and Palestinians.