The top US diplomat said Wednesday he hopes Israel and Palestine keep security agreements in place, a day after the latter announced it is ending all agreements with Tel Aviv.
“We hope that the security arrangements will continue to be in place, that the work that’s done on the ground there to keep people in Israel and Palestinians safe will continue,” State Secretary Mike Pompeo said at a briefing.
His remarks came hours after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he is terminating all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the US, including security, in response to Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
“I regret that he has decided to abrogate these agreements,” he said.
Pompeo said Israel accepted the US vision for peace in the region but the “Palestinians have continued to refuse to just simply sit down and enter into negotiation based on President Trump’s Vision for Peace there.”
He was referring to the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century” that the top US diplomat said will “lead to better lives for the Palestinian people.” But Palestinian officials say that under the US plan, Israel will annex 30% – 40% of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem.
“We hope that the leadership in the Palestinian Authority will see that that’s in their people’s best interest, and that we can move out in that way according to the vision that was laid out,” he added.
According to Israeli plans, the annexation will take place July 1, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new-found ally Benny Gantz, the head of Blue and White party.
Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with its plans, which will further undermine the two-state solution.
The annexation comes as part of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” announced Jan. 28. It refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank.
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