Pompeo: West Bank annexation ‘an Israeli decision’

The secretary of state added: “We will work closely with them to share with them our views on this in a private setting.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Israel will decide whether and when to annex parts of the West Bank, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a briefing on Wednesday.
“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis ultimately make those decisions, so that’s an Israeli decision,” he said.
“We will work closely with them to share with them our views on this in a private setting,” he added.
Pompeo said he was glad there is now a “fully formed” government in Israel.
A new government has yet to be sworn in, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement on Monday night.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and other representatives of the Trump administration have begun discussing the peace plan’s implementation with Netanyahu and his expected replacement in a year and a half, Gantz.
The agreement addresses US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which would allow Israel to annex 30% of the West Bank, including all settlements and the entire Jordan Valley, and would provide the Palestinians with a massive economic-aid package and support their establishing a demilitarized state if they meet certain conditions, including stopping incitement and payment for terrorists and instituting civil rights.
The coalition agreement states that annexation can be brought to a vote in the cabinet or Knesset on July 1 at the earliest, “after discussion between the prime minister and alternate prime minister” and American agreement.
The coalition agreement reads: “In relation to President Trump’s declaration, the prime minister and alternate prime minister will act with the US’s full agreement, including mapping and international dialogue on the subject, while aiming to protect Israel’s security and strategic interests, including the need to preserve regional stability, peace agreements and working toward future peace agreements.”
The agreement says Gantz and Netanyahu will “promote peace agreements with all of our neighbors and promote regional cooperation in a variety of economic areas and in the coronavirus crisis.”
Israel and the US formed a joint mapping committee in February to work toward delineating which parts of the West Bank Israel will annex. The committee’s work was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, a Trump administration source said the US is committed to dedicating the necessary manpower and time to the process when Israel is ready to renew it, and US diplomats are accessible to answer any Israeli questions on the matter.