U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that it was up to Israel whether or not to annex parts of the West Bank, and that discussions on the issue are taking place through private channels with the Israeli government.
“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions. That’s an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in [a] private setting,” he said, according to a Reuters report.
The comment was condemned by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said the P.A. would view its agreements with Israel and the United States as “completely canceled” if Israel annexes land in Judea and Samaria.
“We have informed the relevant international parties, including the American and the Israeli governments, that we will not stand handcuffed if Israel announces the annexation of any part of our land,” Abbas said on Palestine TV, according to the report.
The coalition agreement signed on Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz paves the way for the new government to apply sovereignty to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. The agreement states that Israel could begin to extend its sovereignty to territory in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley starting in July.