US discussing no ‘annexation plan’ with Israel despite Netanyahu’s claim

Press TV – The United States dismisses claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington and Tel Aviv are in talks for “annexation” of Palestinian lands, grabbed by the regime for construction of settlements.

The White House made the announcement Monday in a rare show of discord between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.

The Israeli premier told a closed-door meeting of his right-wing Likud party’s legislators earlier that Tel Aviv was in talks with Washington to apply “sovereignty” on the Palestinian lands, where the regime has been constructing settlements, internationally deemed illegal.

“On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time,” Netanyahu said.

The comments were, however, rejected by the Trump administration.

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

After the announcement, the Israeli prime minister’s office rushed to clarify his statement, claiming that he had just updated the Americans on proposed legislation in Israeli parliament, known as Knesset.

Some analysts have also said that his move was an attempt to please his supporters in the Likud party.

Palestinians walk on a poster bearing images of US President Donald Trump (L), Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a demonstration at the al-Quds Open University in Dura village on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Hebron on December 13, 2017.

His statement was decried by Palestinians with Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, asserting that 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 Rudeineh said from the Russian capital Moscow, where Abbas was holding talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Hailed as a “great friend to the Jewish people” by Netanyahu, President Trump has mended ties with Israel that had gone sour under former President Barrack Obama.

The real estate mogul has vowed to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, a move indicating that Washington recognizes the city as the capital of Israel.

The Israeli regime, meanwhile, keeps taking expansionist measures in Palestine while getting engaged in atrocities against the Muslim nation.