US Denies West Bank Annexation Plan Talks
"Reports that the United States discussed with ‘Israel' an annexation plan for the West Bank are false," said the White House spokesman Monday on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that he was having talks with the Americans about applying "Israeli" sovereignty in the region.
"The United States and ‘Israel' have never discussed such a proposal, and the President's focus remains squarely on his ‘Israeli'-Palestinian peace initiative," the White House spokesman added.
In response, "Israeli" Prime Minister's Office clarified that Netanyahu "updated the Americans on the (annexation) initiatives being raised in the Knesset, and the Americans expressed their unequivocal position that they are committed to advancing President Trump's peace plan."
The "Israeli" PMO added that the prime minister did not present the United States with any specific annexation proposals, and that in any case the administration in Washington did not express its consent to it.
"The position of Prime Minister Netanyahu is that if the Palestinians persist in their refusal to negotiate for peace, ‘Israel' will present its own alternatives," the PMO said.
Earlier that day, Netanyahu told Likud members that he is guided by two principles on the matter: "Coordinating as much as possible with the Americans, with whom the relationship is a strategic asset" to the "Israeli" entity and to the settlement enterprise, and the legislation "must be a government initiative and not a private one, because this is a historic move."
Coalition heads decided on Sunday to postpone an upcoming vote at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on an annexation bill sponsored by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, with the official reason being the security events of the past weekend in the northern "Israeli" occupied Palestinian territories.
Kisch's proposal seeks to apply "Israeli" law, judicial system and sovereignty in all besieged West Bank settlements. It is identical to a resolution unanimously adopted by the Likud Central Committee a month ago.
Members of the coalition have proposed quite a few annexation bills during the 20th Knesset's term.
All of the proposals were sidelined by the coalition, mostly to avoid censure from the international community.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team