Trump welcomes Israel's illegal plan to annex West Bank
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed to go ahead with controversial annexations that analysts say takes Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank a step further.
The step was welcomed by the Trump administration, which has a track record for supporting Israel’s illegal settlements and plans for annexation.
"As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognise Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel," a US State Department spokesperson said on Monday.
The spokesperson added that the illegal annexation will be "in the context of the government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump's Vision."
The annexation plan comes after Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz signed a deal for a unity government that could accelerate the premier's plans to annex parts of the West Bank in the coming months.
In response, the Arab League will host an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss how to galvanise opposition to the plan.
Track record of Israel support
Palestinians have deplored Washington’s approach, saying the Trump administration acts overtly favourable to Israel since the US recognised Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel.
Last month, the US described East Jerusalem Palestinians as "Arab residents" or "non-Israeli citizens" in an annual global human rights report, changing from the previously used "Palestinian residents” description.
After unilaterally recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 and its annexation of the Golan from Syria in March 2019, Trump in late January 2020 unveiled a peace plan for the Middle East that included many concessions to Israel.
The peace plan says it would let Israel annex a third of the West Bank, inside which are hundreds of illegal settlements along with the Jordan Valley.
It would give the Palestinians limited autonomy in a small archipelago of territory with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, but only if they meet the near impossible conditions set out by Trump.
Under the plan, Israel would retain control of the disputed city of Jerusalem as its "undivided capital", and annex settlements on Palestinian lands. Palestinians however want all of east Jerusalem to be the capital of any future state.