PM Netanyahu and Amb. Friedman, 2019
PM Netanyahu and Amb. Friedman, 2019 Mati Stern/US Embassy
Israeli journalist Barak Ravid's interviews with Donald Trump are being cited now to explain why Binyamin Netanyahu was not able to annex the Jordan Valley and Area C during the course of his last term as prime minister.

But Editor in Chief Hagai Segal's column in last Friday's edition of the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon, in addition to proving wrong the rightist accusations that Netanyahu did not really want sovereignty for Area C and the Jordan Valley, provides information which could support a more detailed and accurate assessment of what happened.

When then Prime Minister Netanyahu departed for Washington along with America's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, for the historic 28 January 2020 signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords they were BOTH exhiliarated, convinced that Israel had the green light from Washington to annex those areas immediately after the signing ceremony.

And they did not keep this to themselves.

"The United States Is Pressing Israel To Immediately Apply Israeli Sovereignty To All The Communities In Judea And Samaria" read the 24 January, 2020 headline in Major Rishon, four days before the event.

Mr. Netanyahu alluded to this as he stood next to to U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House that on that day, 28 January 2020:

“But you Mr. President, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria. Rather than pay easy lip service to Israel's security and simply shut your eyes and hope for the best, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in places that enable Israel to defend itself by itself. "

Later that day Binyamin Netanyahu continued to tell Israeli reporters that he planned to annex once he returned to Israel.

And then Jared Kushner slammed on the brakes.

It might have been different if in those crucial minutes, the Cabinet Secretary was instructed to carry out an urgent telephone vote of the Israeli cabinet.

After all, there are two ways to annex: legislation and a Government decision.

Here is the full text of the law that relating to annexation via Government decision:

Ordinance Law and Administration, 1948
… 11B The law, jurisdiction and administration of the State shall apply to
any area of the Land of Israel that the Government sets in an order.

That’s right. All it takes is a vote of the Cabinet.

And there is a mechanism in place to carry out a Cabinet vote by polling the ministers via telephone.

I repeat: at that point in time the Israeli leadership thought that they had the green light to do this as did America's ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

So what would have happened?

Yes, Kushner would have been furious and he could have, in turn convinced his father in law to go into a rage.

But we Israelis were covered.

David Friedman would have been the obvious one to blame for the move.

After all, we relied on Mr. Trump's man in Jerusalem guidance regarding the position of his boss.

But, again, in that crucial period of time when annexation was a few phone calls away, we still thought we had the green light to do it. So there was no anxiety about when to bring it to the Israeli Cabinet.

But anyone with any understanding knew that with every passing minute, hour and day opponents of annexation would do everything in their power to derail the move. And they did.

Dr. Aaron Lerner and his late father Dr. Joseph Lerner founded the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) government accredited news organization in 1992,which provides an ongoing analysis of developments in Arab-Israeli relations.