Senior US official warns Palestinians

“If the Palestinians continue to refuse to come to the table it will make our decision-making regarding annexation much easier."

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Reuters

The Trump administration does not view the new Israeli government's July 1 deadline to begin the process of applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as a "do or die" date, a senior US official told Barak Ravid of Channel 13 News on Tuesday.

The coalition deal that allowed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form a new government says he can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on sovereignty up for a vote in the cabinet or in the Knesset as early as July 1 — but only with the full agreement of the White House.

The report comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Jerusalem on Wednesday to meet with Netanyahu, incoming Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, and incoming Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi.

Pompeo was non-committal on the timetable for sovereignty in an interview published on Tuesday in the Israel Hayom newspaper, saying that the decision to apply sovereignty is Israel’s to make.

“I’ve said in the past that this is Israel’s decision to make. I want to understand what the new government thinks about that,” he said.

Pompeo is not expected to make any commitments on this issue while in Israel, in public statements or behind closed doors, officials told Ravid.

The US officials said their focus is on the coronavirus crisis, and it would be premature to move forward on this issue.

At the same time, the Trump administration continues to warn the Palestinians that their decision to boycott talks will not work out in their favor.

“If the Palestinians continue to refuse to engage and don’t come to the table it could have negative consequences for them and it will make our decision-making regarding annexation much easier," a US official told Ravid.

Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders have rejected President Trump's proposal outright, and dismiss the idea that his administration could mediate impartially on this issue.



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