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Annexation, Iran sanctions, weapons? What Israel may ask of Trump as he leaves

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A lot can be done in 72 days. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has probably already started to think about what he’d like to ask of outgoing US President Donald Trump before Joe Biden moves into the White House on January 20, 2021.

For the Israeli government, the Trump administration was the gift that kept on giving: in only four years, it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal; moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem; cut all aid to the Palestinians; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan; asserted the legality of West Bank settlements and endorsed their annexation to Israel.

What else could Israel ask of an administration that already gave Israel pretty much anything it ever wanted?

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Quite a lot, actually. According to Israeli and American analysts, Jerusalem’s wish list includes explicit support for the annexation of parts of the West Bank, upgraded defense aid, including advanced weaponry, more tough sanctions on Iran, and intensified pressure on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel.

Netanyahu could also use the remaining 10 weeks to accelerate the pace of West Bank construction (before a Biden administration would likely ask him to freeze or at least slow down settlement expansions) or intensify military attacks on Iranian targets in Syria and Lebanon.

It is generally assumed that Israel wouldn’t make drastic measures — such as unilaterally applying sovereignty over parts pf the West Bank — without Trump’s blessing, but his aides may be keen to advance their Middle East agenda before leaving office — and their policy........

© The Times of Israel

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