The White House on Monday denied that the US had discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank. Spokesman Josh Raffel called the report false. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative,” he said. He was responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu words to the Likud faction: “I can tell you that for a while now I’ve been talking about it with the Americans,” he said. “I’m guided by two principles in this issue … optimal coordination with the Americans, whose relationship with us is a strategic asset for Israel and the settlement movement; and the fact that it must be a government initiative rather than a private one because it would be a historic move.”
First, an unnamed US “senior diplomatic official” said that Netanyahu “did not present the US administration with specific proposals for West Bank annexation,” but that “Israel updated the US on various proposals that are being brought up in the Knesset, and the US expressed its clear position that it hopes to present [US] President [Donald] Trump’s peace plan. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position is that if the Palestinians continue to refuse negotiating peace — Israel will present its own alternatives,” the official added.
The Prime Minister’s Office then also put out a clarification: “The Prime Minister updated the Americans on initiatives being presented in the Knesset, the Americans stated their unequivocal view that they are committed to furthering President Trump’s peace plan.”