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‘Annexation will wait’: Defense Minister Gantz says Israel’s top priority is pandemic crisis

‘Annexation will wait’: Defense Minister Gantz says Israel’s top priority is pandemic crisis

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to begin annexing West Bank territory will have to wait due to the coronavirus crisis in Israel.

Gantz, who also holds the title of the alternative prime minister, told his Blue and White Party on Monday that his top priority is helping the country navigate the health and economic crisis stemming from the pandemic. “Anything unrelated to the battle against the coronavirus will wait,” AP quoted him as saying.

Netanyahu has said he wants to begin annexing occupied land as soon as this week, in line with President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan. A top US envoy is in the country trying to work out a deal with the Israelis.

Gantz’s announcement immediately complicated that mission and exposed a rift in the country’s new coalition government of Likud and Blue and White.