Hours after it was reported that Jerusalem and Washington are talking about the annexation of West Bank settlements, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas warned that such a move would ruin the peace process.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas Photo Credit: Flash 90
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has slammed the reports about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussing the annexation of West Bank settlements with Washington. Abbas’ spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said Monday evening that any unilateral steps regarding the Israeli annexation of settlements will fail to change reality in the West Bank because the settlements themselves are illegal, the PA’s official media outlet Wafa has reported.
Abu Rudeineh warned that Israeli legislation regarding the matter would destroy all international efforts aimed at restoring the peace process and bring more tensions and instability to the region.
A top Israeli official clarified on Monday evening that Netanyahu has been talking with Washington for quite some time about Israel’s interests that would need to be preserved in a future peace agreement. “The Prime Minister has not presented the United States with specific annexation proposals and regardless, the United States did not agree to the proposals,” he stressed.
“Israel updated the United States regarding the various proposals that have been discussed at the Knesset and the United States expressed its clear position that it is asking to advance [US] President [Donald] Trump’s peace plan,” the official added.
Earlier this evening, it was reported that Netanyahu revealed to Likud lawmakers that Israel is discussing the annexation of West Bank settlements with Trump’s administration. “On the matter of applying sovereignty [in the West Bank], I can tell you that for a while now I’ve been talking about it with the Americans,” he stated.
Netanyahu told the Likud MKs that he is adhering to two principles regarding the matter. “The first, coordinating with the Americans as much as possible because the relationship with them is a strategic asset for the State of Israel and the settlement enterprise,” he explained. “The second, this needs to be a government initiative and not a private one because it would be a historic move.”