Former US diplomat Dennis Ross: Annexation of the West Bank 'is off the table'


In an interview with FRANCE 24, Dennis Ross, a former top US adviser on the Middle East, reacted to the recent agreements signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Ross said he believes the two Gulf states did not betray the Palestinian cause but merely decided to pursue their own national interests. He stressed, however, that the UAE had obtained in return an Israeli decision not to annex the West Bank. He added that West Bank annexation was now "off the table" because both US President Donald Trump and his election challenger Joe Biden have endorsed that position.


The former US diplomat predicted that Sudan and Oman would be the next Arab countries to normalise relations with Israel, noting that it would require longer for Saudi Arabia to take more "gradual steps". Ross urged the Palestinian leadership to jump on the opportunity to extract concessions from Israel through these rapprochements, instead of complaining about them.

Finally, with regard to this week's announcement that Israel and Lebanon would enter indirect talks under UN auspices to delineate their disputed maritime border, he said it was an illustration that Lebanon's Hezbollah found itself in a difficult position and had to offer some concessions. 

>> Lebanon, Israel to hold first direct talks in decades on disputed borders

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