Pompeo says annexation up to Israel amid condemnation

Pompeo says annexation up to Israel amid condemnation
The US Secretary of State defended the move shortly after the UN and Arab League called for Israel to abandon its plans.
3 min read
Washington is considered to have given Israel the green light for its annexation plans [Getty]
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated on Wednesday that Israel had the US green light to annex Palestinian land, amid wide criticism of the plans.

"Decisions about Israelis extending sovereignty to those places are decisions for the Israelis to make," Pompeo told reporters.

"We are talking to all of the countries in the region about how it is we can manage this process for our end-state objective," he said.

He was speaking moments after the United Nations and the Arab League, during a UN Security Council session, joined in calling for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Arab states, notably US ally Jordan, have voiced alarm at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's indication that he will move ahead as soon as next week to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying that it would kill prospects for peace. 

But Pompeo said that both Netanyahu and Gulf states backed a Middle East plan unveiled in January by President Donald Trump, which gives the blessing to Israel for annexation and allows for a demilitarised Palestinian state without territorial continuity.

"I regret only that the Palestinian Authority has refused to participate in that," Pompeo said.

"I remain hopeful that in the coming weeks, we can begin to make real progress towards achieving that," he said of Trump's plan.

UN, Arab League urge Israel to abandon annexation 

The United Nations and the Arab League joined in calling on Wednesday for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The calls were made during a UN Security Council video conference in which several government ministers participated.

"I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

He reiterated the longstanding goal of a two-state solution with an independent, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation "will destroy any prospect for peace in the future".

"The possible move by the Israeli government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory would constitute, if implementated, a serious threat to regional stability," he added.

The UN coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov said annexation "could irrevocably alter the nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations".

He added: "It risks up-ending more than a quarter of a century of international efforts in support of a future viable Palestinian state living in peace, security and mutual recognition with the State of Israel."

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