28 Apr 2020
The US administration’s Middle East plan would let Israel illegally annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank [File: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]
The United States said it was ready to recognise Israel’s annexation of much of the occupied West Bank, but asked the new unity government also to negotiate with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has reached a power-sharing deal to remain in office after three inconclusive elections, has vowed to press ahead with annexations that the Palestinians say will shut the door on a two-state solution.
A Middle East “vision” unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump gave a green light to annexations. Netanyahu’s coalition deal with centrist Benny Gantz agreed the cabinet would consult Washington before moving forward.
But Palestinians have expressed outrage at Israel’s plans to cement its hold further on land it seized in the 1967 war, territory they are seeking for a future state. The European Union has also criticised Trump’s plan as failing to achieve a two-state solution.
Pompeo says annexation is Israel’s decision (2:38)
“As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognise Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel,” a US State Department spokesperson said on Monday.
The step would be “in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s Vision,” she said.