WEST BANK (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime is committing "land theft” in the occupied territories as Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the "complicity” of the U.S. government is trying to pass a legislation that would effectively annex West Bank settlements, a top Palestinian official says.
"Netanyahu's latest statement ... confirms U.S. complicity with Israeli colonial plans,” said Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on Monday, denouncing the Zionist regime’s moves as "land theft.”
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu told the regime’s 120-seat parliament (Knesset) that he had been discussing legislation with Washington that would effectively annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
"On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time,” Netanyahu was quoted by a spokesman of his right-wing Likud party as telling a meeting of its legislators.
However, the United States dismissed claims by Netanyahu that Washington and Tel Aviv are in talks for "annexation” of Palestinian lands.
The White House made the announcement Monday in a rare show of discord between Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump.
"Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” White House spokesman Josh Raffel said. "The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.”
After the announcement, the Zionist prime minister’s office rushed to clarify his statement, claiming that he had just updated the Americans on proposed legislation in Israeli parliament.
Some analysts have also said that his move was an attempt to please his supporters in the Likud party.
His statement was decried by Palestinians with Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, asserting that any annexation would "destroy all efforts to try and save the peace process.”
"No-one has the right to discuss the situation of the occupied Palestinian lands,” Abu Rudeineh said from the Russian capital Moscow, where Abbas was holding talks with President Vladimir Putin.
Hailed as a "great friend to the Jewish people” by Netanyahu, President Trump has mended ties with the regime that had gone sour under former President Barack Obama.
The photo, taken from the outskirts of the Palestinian city of Nablus, shows a view of the wildcat Jewish settlement outpost of Havat Gilad, February 2, 2018.