Israeli minister Lieberman: US warned Israel about annexing West Bank

Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2017. (Reuters)

Israel’s defense minister said Monday the US has notified Israel that imposing Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank would lead to an “immediate crisis” with the Trump administration.

“We received a direct message – not an indirect message and not a hint – from the United States. Imposing Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at the start of parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee meeting. Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, land Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and continues to occupy.

The defense minister was responding to a media interview with lawmaker Miki Zohar, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, in which he rejected the idea of a Palestinian state and advocated for a “one-state solution” in which Palestinians would have Israeli citizenship.

“The two-state solution is dead,” Zohar told i24NEWS, an Israeli TV channel. “What is left is a one-state solution with the Arabs here as, not as full citizenship, because full citizenship can let them to vote to the Knesset. They will get all of the rights like every citizen except voting for the Knesset,” the Israeli parliament. “They will be able to vote and be elected in their city under administrative autonomy and under Israeli sovereignty and with complete security control,” Zohar added.

Zohar’s proposal

Lieberman said he received phone calls “from the entire world” about whether Zohar’s proposal reflected the Israeli government’s position. He said imposing Israeli sovereignty on the West Bank would mean Israel would be faced with the financial burden of providing Palestinians with health care and other benefits. He called on the governing coalition to “clarify very clearly, there is no intention to impose Israeli sovereignty.”

In a striking departure from longtime American policy, President Donald Trump has not explicitly embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Israel would end its occupation of the West Bank and an independent Palestinian state would be established alongside Israel. Trump said last month he would support whatever solution is acceptable to both sides.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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