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8 Jun, 2019 15:42

Israel has right to retain ‘SOME’ of West Bank, US envoy says as Trump’s peace plan takes flak

Israel has right to retain ‘SOME’ of West Bank, US envoy says as Trump’s peace plan takes flak

Tel Aviv has a right to annex certain parts of the West Bank, a US envoy to Israel said as Donald Trump’s much-touted Middle East peace plan was rejected by the Palestinians.

“Under certain circumstances,” Israel “has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” David Friedman told the New York Times in an interview published on Saturday.

For years, Israeli right-wing politicians had been proposing to formally annex parts of the West Bank containing Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. The Palestinians vehemently oppose this move, saying that it will render a two-state solution impossible.

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During the re-election campaign in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that Israel will annex the settlements sometime in the future. The US did not previously support these plans outright. But, speaking to the New York Times, envoy Friedman said that he does not want “to prejudge” Israel if it indeed extends its sovereignty to some portions of the West Bank.

His words come as Palestinian officials firmly rejected the peace plan brokered by President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law. The plan, which is yet to be officially revealed, reportedly calls for splitting the West Bank, leaving “a smaller share” to the Palestinians.

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The Palestinians, however, insist that any transfer of land to Israel is unacceptable. Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, blasted Donald Trump’s plan, wishing it “go to hell.” On top of that, the Palestinian Authority said that it will be boycotting a US-sponsored event in Bahrain on June 25-26 where parts of the proposed deal are expected to be unveiled.

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