Pompeo refuses to identify US position on Israel’s possible annexation of West Bank settlements

Mike Pompeo
File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — US Secretary of State Mike Bombo on Tuesday refused to say whether the United States would oppose a possible annexation by Israel of West Bank settlements and refused to confirm Washington’s support for a Palestinian state.

In a hearing before a Senate subcommittee, Pompeo declined to answer Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen’s question whether Donald Trump’s administration would oppose “Israel’s unilateral annexation of the entire West Bank or part of it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he planned to annex West Bank settlements if he won a new term after the legislative elections.

The international community considers the settlements a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace efforts, built on Palestinian land that is supposed to form part of the desired Palestinian state.

Pompeo also rejected US support for a two-state solution that former US administrations had defended. “In the end, Israelis and Palestinians will decide how they will find a solution,” Pompeo said.

He added that advisers to US President Donald Trump, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, would soon present a proposal “to resolve a problem that has been going on for decades and which previous administrations could not resolve.”

“You will see our proposal,” he said, adding that the plan would be unveiled “not too long”, without giving further details.

“We hope there will be some different and unique ideas that will allow Israelis and Palestinians to reach a solution to the conflict.”

“All of the West Bank, or part of it, means that there is no agreement with the Palestinians … and any effort to find a (two-state) political solution will be undermined,” said Democratic Sen. Warren van Hollen.

The Trump administration has taken decisions that run counter to international consensus and US diplomatic tradition by unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without waiting to reveal its peace plan. It also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan.

Palestinian leaders have refused to communicate with Washington since Washington announced its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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