US Denies Alleged West Bank Settlement Annexation Plan
The US has dismissed reported discussions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Washington officials over plans to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” said White House spokesman Josh Raffel, late on Monday. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal.”
Raffel added the “focus remains squarely” on US President Donald Trump’s “Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative”.
The Israeli prime minister was quoted as telling a meeting of Likud legislators, “On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time.”
Netanyahu was referring to applying Israeli law to the settlements, which are currently under the jurisdiction of Israel’s military.
Netanyahu’s office later sought to clarify what was discussed, saying in a statement the prime minister “updated the Americans on the initiatives being raised in the Knesset”.
On Sunday, Netanyahu blocked a bill to annex settlements that was proposed by right-wing Likud lawmakers.
“The Americans expressed their unequivocal position that they are committed to advancing President Trump’s peace plan,” Netanyahu’s office said.
According to Al Jazeera, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem in 1967. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 200 Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.