Pompeo urges Israel to consider ‘all the factors’ in proposed West Bank annexation

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged Israeli leaders to consider “all the factors” involved in a proposed de facto annexation of the occupied West Bank so that it squares with Washington’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Pompeo visited Israel on Wednesday on a one-day trip that included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz.

Pompeo told the Israel Hayom newspaper that they discussed annexation “but also many other issues related to it -- how to deal with all the factors involved, and how to make sure the move is done properly to bring about an outcome in accordance with the vision of peace."

Pompeo praised Israel for sharing information during global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and took another swipe at China over what he said was its lack of transparency.

Trump and his senior officials have engaged in a war of words with China, where the new coronavirus first emerged, accusing Chinese authorities of failing to inform the world fast enough about the dangers it posed and muzzled those who raised the alarm. Beijing strongly denies the charges.

Addressing Netanyahu at the start of their three-hour meeting, Pompeo told him: “You’re a great partner, you share information - unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide that information - and we’ll talk about that country, too.”

Pompeo did not name China and did not give specific examples of Israeli cooperation in the fight against coronavirus.

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