The White House has told Israel that it will support the annexation of parts of the West Bank if the Jewish state agrees to the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan—the “Peace to Prosperity” vision—that includes the creation of a Palestinian state, reported Axios on Thursday.
A senior U.S. official told the outlet: “We are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty over areas of the West Bank in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s vision.”
U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios that the message has been sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
During a meeting of the U.S.-Israeli mapping committee that is seeking to outline the parts of the West Bank most likely to be annexed by Israel, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Netanyahu’s aides that “the U.S. wants to implement a peace plan, not an annexation plan.”
According to the terms of the unity agreement reached by Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party, the issue of extending Israeli sovereignty can be brought to the Knesset for a vote on July 1 at the earliest.
White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke last week with Gantz, those briefed on the call told Axios.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that it was up to Israel whether or not to annex territory in Judea and Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, and that discussions on the issue are taking place through private channels with the Israeli government.
The Palestinians, however, have refused to negotiate with the Trump administration or even acknowledge the plan.
Most of the international community has objected to any Israeli plans for annexation.