US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria will not hurt a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Asked if he thought Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the biblical heartland is an obstacle to peace, Pompeo said, “I don’t. I think that the vision we’ll lay out is going to represent a significant change from the model that’s been used.”
During the final days of his reelection campaign in a push for support from his right-wing base, Netanyahu promised that if he was reelected, he would annex the parts of Judea and Samaria already settled by close to half a million Jews. Pompeo’s remarks suggest that the Trump Administration will cooperate with Netanyahu’s move to reclaim large areas of the biblical heartland as part of Israel-proper.
The entire region was captured in the 1967 Six Day War after, Israel was threatened with destruction by five surrounding Arab nations. The international community, including all previous US administrations, have refused to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty in the region, claiming that the Jews living in their historical lands are an obstacle to peace.
“We’ve had a lot of ideas for 40 years and they did not deliver peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Pompeo continued. “Our idea is to put forward a vision that has ideas that are new, that are different, that are unique, that tries to reframe and reshape what’s been an intractable problem, that multiple administrations have grappled with, multiple administrations in Israel as well.”
US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” a proposal to bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is expected to be outlined on May 15.