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White Home dismisses assertion of US-Israel discussing on new settlements

JERUSALEM: America dismissed as false an Israeli assertion on Monday that the 2 international locations had been discussing the potential for Israel annexing Jewish settlements within the occupied West Financial institution, in a uncommon show of discord between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 “On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time,” Netanyahu advised a closed-door assembly of his right-wing Likud get together’s legislators, in line with the get together’s spokesman.

Netanyahu was referring to making use of Israeli regulation to the settlements, a step tantamount to annexation. They’re presently below the jurisdiction of Israel’s navy, which has occupied the West Financial institution because the 1967 warfare.

In a while Monday, the White Home denied having such discussions and a senior Israeli official stated Netanyahu had not made a selected annexation proposal to Washington.

“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” White Home spokesman Josh Raffel stated. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.”

Issuing a clarification, the prime minister’s workplace stepped again from any suggestion of a dialogue with Washington on any authorities annexation plan. It stated Netanyahu had solely up to date the Individuals on proposed laws in parliament.

Some commentators prompt Netanyahu’s remarks to Likud may need been a transfer to placate right-wingers in his cupboard moderately than a concrete plan.

The remarks stoked Palestinian anger, already excessive over Trump’s Dec 6 announcement that the USA acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a reversal of a long time of US coverage.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stated any annexation would “destroy all efforts to try and save the peace process”.

“No-one has the right to discuss the situation of the occupied Palestinian lands,” Abu Rdainah stated from Moscow, the place Abbas was holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid experiences they might focus on new choices for Center East mediation.

Most international locations regard Israel’s settlements as unlawful. Israel disputes this.

Trump, in a cellphone name with Putin, stated “now is the time to work toward an enduring peace agreement,” a White Home assertion stated.

No timeframe

The Likud spokesman didn’t point out a timeframe for an annexation or go into additional particulars on the US discussions. He quoted Netanyahu as telling the lawmakers that any change within the settlements’ standing should first be coordinated, “as much as possible” with the USA, Israel’s major ally.

“Israel updated the Americans about different proposals being raised at the Knesset and the US expressed its clear position that it wishes to advance President Trump’s peace plan,” a press release from Netanyahu’s workplace stated.

An Israel Radio political affairs commentator described Netanyahu’s feedback as largely ideological in nature and stated it was unlikely any sensible steps could be taken within the close to future.

Netanyahu’s feedback to the legislators appeared, no less than partly, to be an try to melt any political fallout inside Likud over his determination on Sunday to dam a invoice proposed by a number of right-wing lawmakers to annex settlements.

A supply on the prime minister’s workplace stated on Sunday the invoice was blocked to be able to give diplomatic efforts extra of an opportunity.

The Trump administration has been much less essential than the administration of President Barack Obama of Israeli settlement coverage. However in an interview revealed on Sunday in Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper, Trump urged Israel to tread cautiously.

“The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements,” Trump stated.

Trump additionally voiced doubts about Palestinian and Israeli dedication to creating peace.

Requested when he would unveil a promised new peace plan, Trump stated: “We are going to see what goes on. Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace.”

US-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014, with the settlement concern one of many major elements behind their failure.

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