US warns Netanyahu's Israeli gov't against annexation of occupied West Bank

The Nation  |  Dec 05, 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to stand against Israeli settlements or annexation in the occupied West Bank with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to return to power.

"We will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution, including, but not limited to, settlement expansion; moves toward annexation of the West Bank; disruption to the historic status quo at holy sites; demolitions and evictions; and incitement to violence," Blinken said at the J Street National Conference event.

Netanyahu is expected back in office within days, having sealed a coalition deal with far-right groups, including Religious Zionism, which is set for a post in charge of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"Preserving a horizon of hope also requires that we work relentlessly to prevent any parties from taking actions that could raise tensions or further raise tensions and push the two-state solution even further out of reach," Blinken said.

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He highlighted the need to work to preserve the "horizon of hope" for a solution, as well as to broaden it.

Noting that violence had risen dramatically this year in the West Bank, he said the perpetrators of violence must face equal justice under the law.

He also offered congratulations to Netanyahu, who had clashed with previous Democratic administrations in Washington, adding: "We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities."

Blinken also voiced the expectation that the new Israeli government continues to work with Washington to advance shared values.

Netanyahu is currently in the process of consultation with right-wing parties to form the upcoming Israeli government, as his coalition secured a simple parliamentary majority that allows him to form the government.

Separate areas of the West Bank have witnessed a noticeable escalation and an increase in the pace of Israeli forces' operations since the beginning of 2022.

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