‘Completely false’ that Trump, Kushner didn’t know about annexation: Netanyahu

Netanyahu spokesman denies that Trump, Kushner were taken off guard by a June 2020 announcement in which he pledged to annex Judea and Samaria.

By World Israel News Staff

Former prime minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu strongly denied claims that his June 2020 announcement regarding his intention to officially annex much of Judea and Samaria came as a shock to then-president Donald Trump and his advisor, Jared Kushner.

“The allegation that Prime Minister Netanyahu surprised Jared Kushner and [then] president Trump by announcing Israel’s intention to apply Israeli law to the 30 percent of Judea and Samaria envisioned in the Trump plan as sovereign Israeli territory is completely false,” a spokesperson for Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The spokesperson added that Trump and Netanyahu had exchanged letters the day before the announcement and that Netanyahu had clearly laid out his intentions about the annexation announcement in the text.

In his forthcoming book, Breaking History: A White House Memoir, Kushner details what he said was a completely unprecedented move on the part of Netanyahu and how the statement about annexation had triggered chaos within the Trump administration.

Kushner recalled that then-U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman had “gone rogue” and told Netanyahu that Trump would support annexation, without discussing the matter with Trump beforehand.

“Trump was…fuming over Bibi’s [Netanyahu’s] speech. In fact, he had asked me whether he should take the unusual step of endorsing the prime minister’s political rival, Benny Gantz,” Kushner wrote.

Netanyahu’s denial of that version of events comes after a report several months ago that Trump and Kushner were incensed by the former premier’s “surprise” announcement that Israel would annex wide swathes of Judea and Samaria.

According to excerpts from the book Trump’s Peace by Axios journalist Barak Ravid, the Americans were taken completely off guard by the declaration, which they say was not part of Trump’s plan.

In a meeting with his advisors shortly after Netanyahu’s announcement, Trump reportedly asked his advisors, “What the hell was that?”

Ravid wrote that Friedman had told Netanyahu that Trump would be fine with the announcement but Kushner and Trump were angry with Friedman and Netanyahu for never discussing the matter with them.

A furious Kushner then ordered Friedman to tell Netanyahu that the U.S. had not given the green light for annexation, which forced the Israeli leader to walk back his jubilant announcement.

Netanyahu eventually dropped the prospect of annexation from his agenda in exchange for the Abraham Accords normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.