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April 22, 2020 12:54 pm

Pompeo Says Annexation of West Bank Is Israeli Decision to Make

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses a news conference in the Press Briefing Room at the State Department in Washington, DC, Jan. 7, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Tom Brenner.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was an Israeli decision whether to annex parts of the West Bank and the Trump administration would offer its views on the matter to the new Israeli government in private.

“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions,” Pompeo told reporters. “That’s an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in (a) private setting.”

Pompeo also said he was “happy” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form a national emergency government, noting he did not think a fourth Israeli election was in the country’s interest.

The coalition agreement states that while the new government will strive for peace and regional stability, an extension of Israeli sovereignty to settlements in the West Bank can be promoted.

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Such a move would mean a de-facto annexation of territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War and that is presently under Israeli military control.

It would have to be greenlighted by the United States, after which Netanyahu would be permitted to advance plans from July 1, the agreement says.

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