United States (QNN)- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday claimed it was an Israeli decision whether to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions. That’s an Israeli decision, and we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in a private setting”, Pompeo said.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians “will not stand handcuffed and will halt agreements with the occupation state if it annexes of any part of our land.”
Abbas added that the US and ‘Israel’ were taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to violate the Palestinians’ rights.
Meanwhile, PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said annexation would “have dangerous implications for the region’s security and stability”.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem was quick to denounce Pompeo’s comment on Wednesday.
“De-facto annexation and the reality of Apartheid are not waiting for July 1: they have long since arrived,” the group said in a statement, calling on the international community to “take action against the reality already in place.”
According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2016, Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.
The Trump administration has repeatedly sided with the occupation state and against stances taken by the Palestinians and Arab states, including recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state and moving the US embassy there.
However, the US government said last year it would no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law”.