İrem UZUN -TDO- United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that annexation of the occupied West Bank was an Israeli decision. "As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions," Pompeo said in a news conference at the State Department in Washington, DC. "That's an Israeli decision and we will work closely to share with them our views of this in a private setting".
Pompeo also praised the power-sharing deal which is signed on Monday night between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, following three consecutive elections that ended inconclusively. "A fourth election, we think, would not have been in Israel's best interest... We're glad that there is a now fully formed government in Israel," Pompeo said. A breakthrough coalition agreement had mentioned a role for the United States in deciding on future moves. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and other representatives of the government have already begun discussing the Mid-east Peace Plan’s details with Netanyahu and Gantz.
The matter of applying sovereignty over Israeli settlements in the West Bank was one of the key issues that delayed the signing of the unity agreement. Before signing the deal, Netanyahu and Gantz agreed to bring the vote on West Bank annexation to a Knesset vote starting July.
About Pompeo’s statement, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson said, “The United States has no say in legitimizing an Israeli decision regarding the Palestinian territories, or in deciding what happens to them. The Palestinians are the only ones to decide on the future of their territories”.