In a move that raised many eyebrows, the United States on late Monday (local time) said that it was ready to recognise Israel’s annexation of disputed the West Bank but also asked the new unity government to negotiate with the Palestinians, international media reported.
The statement came as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a power-sharing deal to remain in office and vowed to press ahead with annexations that the Palestinians say will shut the door to a two-state solution.
While speaking to an international media outlet, State Department spokesperson said that the government has made consistently clear that they are prepared to recognise Israel's actions to extend its sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank as being part of the State of Israel. The spokesperson further added that the step would be in the context of the government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the line set forth in US President Donald Trump’s Vision document.
Earlier this year, the 'Middle East Vision' was unveiled by Trump at the White House. He gave a green light to annexations, but Netanyahu’s coalition deal with the centrist Benny Gantz said that the cabinet would consult Washington before moving forward.
Trump, on the other hand, for the past three years has granted a wish-list to Netanyahu. The state department’s spokesperson reportedly said that the Israel annexation is an unprecedented and highly beneficial opportunity for the Palestinians.
The Middle East plan would let Israel annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and exert sovereignty all the way to Jordan. As the plan, the Palestinians would be granted a sovereign but demilitarised state along with promises of major investment. The Palestinian state's capital would also be on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the contested holy city which would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.
However, both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected Trump's plan. The Palestinians were offered limited self-rule in Gaza, parts of the West Bank, and some sparsely populated areas of Israel in return for meeting a long list of conditions.
Hamas has vowed that "all options are open" in its response to the proposal, but is not believed to be seeking war with Israel. Meanwhile, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the Israeli-Palestinian peace truce in January and called it 'completely unacceptable'.