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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Unilateral Israeli annexation 'undermines US national security interests', Pelosi warns

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she is 'very concerned' about annexation [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 June, 2020

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Israeli annexation of the West Bank would undermine US national security interests.
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned against the unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank on Thursday in her comments at an online event organised by the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

The top Democrat said the move would undermine US national security interests and harm bi-partisan support for Israel, Haaretz reported.

Pelosi added she was "very concerned" about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promise to take steps towards annexation as soon as July 1, despite widespread international condemnation.

"Unilateral annexation undermines US national security interests, our interests," Pelosi said at the online event.

Pelosi also criticised the Palestinian leadership and "their capability to be good negotiating partners".

"I wish they could do better," she said.

Pelosi also criticised President Donald Trump and the rise of antisemitism in the United States, which she said is rising with "acquiesce" from Trump.

In May, US Democrat and presidential frontrunner Joe Biden announced that he opposes Israel's illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank, saying such a move will "undercut the prospects for peace".

Speaking at a fundraiser, Biden vowed to not approve the annexation of occupied West Bank settlements if he were president and that his administration would not give Israel a "green light" or recognise the illegal move.

'Without conditions'

The Israeli government plans to forge ahead with annexing settlements and the Jordan Valley in line with the peace proposals unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu reportedly held a private meeting on Tuesday with key figures in the Israeli settler movement behind closed doors.

He told them that the annexation of the Palestinian territories will be implemented without adopting any of the demands of US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" peace plan.

This included a freeze on settlement expansion, holding peace talks with the Palestinians, and the isolation of around 15 settlements inside territories designated for a future Palestinian mini-state.

The plan was angrily rejected by the Palestinians, who say they were not consulted on proposals they see as capitulating to Israeli demands.

But a new Israeli government has said it will lay out its strategy to implement the peace plan on July 1.

After occupying the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel began establishing a network of settlements the following decade. Construction continues to this day.

Despite being viewed as illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped by 50 percent over the past decade. 

Some 450,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, alongside 2.7 million Palestinians.

Some 58 percent of Israelis think annexation will spark a third Palestinian uprising, according to a poll published Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute.

The Second Intifada, a Palestinian revolt in the early 2000s, included waves of suicide bombings and deadly Israeli responses.

Read more: Israeli annexation looms, and Democrats' 'opposition' is more feckless than ever

Abbas has on numerous occasions threatened to cut all security ties with Israel if annexation goes ahead while trying to rally the international community to the Palestinian cause.

Experts say the Israeli government has a narrow window of opportunity to move ahead with annexation, before US presidential elections in November that could see its ally Trump voted out of office.

Initial plans released by the White House earlier this year [Click to enlarge]

Agencies contributed to this report.

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