By Emily Jones
The United States said Monday it is ready to recognize Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank, according to a State Department source cited by AFP.
The French news agency reported that the US will approve of Israel’s decision to “extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank,” referring to territories selected to become part of Israel according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan released last year.
These territories include settlement communities and the Jordan Valley. The Palestinians hope these territories will become part of a future state of their own.
US recognition of the annexation would be given “in the context” of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines of Trump’s peace plan, the source said.
These include an offer to establish a Palestinian state with economic support from the international community.
The Palestinians and much of the international community rejected the plan and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened last week to end all agreements with the US and Israel if the country moves forward with the annexation.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was “Israel’s decision.”
The annexation was a major campaign point for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing base. Netanyahu recently announced that he would form a unity government with rival Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, which would give him the stability he needs to move forward with the annexation.
According to the emergency government deal, Netanyahu will be able to bring forward the annexation plan for approval by the cabinet and or the Knesset as early as this summer.
Netanyahu said on Sunday he is “confident” the US would allow him to extend Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank – also known as the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
Three months ago, the Trump peace plan recognized Israel’s rights in all of Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said. “And President Trump pledged to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley.”
“A couple of months from now, I’m confident that that pledge will be honored,” Netanyahu said.