US ‘warned Israel about annexing West Bank’

US ‘warned Israel about annexing West Bank’
A bulldozer demolishes a house in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, in this March 1, 2017 photo. (AP)
Updated 07 March 2017

US ‘warned Israel about annexing West Bank’

US ‘warned Israel about annexing West Bank’

JERUSALEM: Israel’s defense minister said Monday the US has notified Israel that imposing sovereignty over the West Bank would lead to an “immediate crisis” with the Trump administration.
“We received a direct message — not an indirect message and not a hint — from the United States. Imposing Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at the start of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.
Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, land Israel captured in the 1967 war and continues to occupy.
Meanwhile, Palestinian chief negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat told Arab News that it is too soon to make any judgments about the US administration’s intentions concerning the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.
“We have been receiving contradicting messages from the US administration, nevertheless any step that goes in the right direction; the peace direction, is very welcome. Just a few days ago a couple of US senators were in Israel and gave statements indicating that Trump will make good on his promise to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem,” he said.
Erekat stressed that the Palestinian Authority is hopeful that US President Donald Trump will avoid taking any step that could undermine the peace process or the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We urge him to maintain what previous US administrations have been adhering to with regard to the peace process based on the 1967 borders. The new administration has been in office for less than two months so for us it is still too soon to make judgments whether to be optimistic or pessimistic,” he said.
Defense Minister Lieberman, in talking about the warning from the US over sovereignty over annexing the West Bank, was responding to a media interview with lawmaker Miki Zohar, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, in which he rejected the idea of a Palestinian state and advocated for a “one-state solution” in which Palestinians would have Israeli citizenship.