Annexation unlikely on Wednesday, says Israeli foreign minister

The July 1 deadline has been set for Israel to begin extending its law across the West Bank

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Israel's foreign minister said an announcement on the proposed annexation of occupied West Bank land was unlikely on Wednesday, the start-date set by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government for discussing such a move.

Although the Israeli prime minister is keen on the move, enthusiasm for annexation has waned in the face of international pressure.

"It seems unlikely to me that this will happen today," Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of the centrist Blue and White party partnered with Mr Netanyahu's conservative Likud, told Israel's Army Radio.

"I reckon there will be nothing today, regarding [the extension of Israeli] sovereignty."

In a sign of rifts within the coalition over the timing of any unilateral annexation move, which has been fiercely opposed by the Palestinians and some world powers, Mr Ashkenazi asked the interviewer to seek more details from Mr Netanyahu.

Blue and White leader Mr Gantz said this week that annexation should be postponed until the coronavirus pandemic was brought under control. Aides close to Mr Netanyahu, however, rejected the idea, and said prime minister did not need Mr Gantz’s support to push ahead.

Mr Netanyahu, after holding discussions on Tuesday with US envoys on annexation within the framework of President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, said such talks would continue for several days – another indication of a climbdown on July 1 deadline.