Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg Reuters

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday warned that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu carries out his plan to annex communities in Judea and Samaria, he would if elected ensure no US taxpayer funds support the move.

​“If Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill​,” he said during a speech at Indiana University, according to The New York Post.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said that in the same way an American patriot can criticize the policies of an American president, an ally of Israel should be able to oppose the actions of its government.

​​“​Especially when we see increasingly disturbing signs that the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace​,” he said.

Both Israelis and Palestinians should be able to “enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear, and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families,” he continued​.

Buttigieg said his administration would support a two-state solution ​to the conflict ​that “achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward, and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively.​”

In April, before the last Knesset election, Netanyahu promised to annex parts of Judea and Samaria if re-elected.

"Yes, I'll apply sovereignty. I don't separate the large [settlement] blocs from the isolated points,” he said in a television interview.

The 37-year-old Buttigieg has been critical of Netanyahu in the past. In April, he called Netanyahu’s pledge to annex Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, calling it a “provocation”.

“This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests. Supporting Israel does not have to mean agreeing with Netanyahu‘s politics. I don’t. This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution,” he said at the time.

Last month, Buttigieg said that Palestinian Arab leaders are not “the right kinds of partners” for peace, but also said that Israel’s leaders need American guidance.

One of the “biggest problems” facing American policy with respect to Israeli and Palestinian leadership, he said, is “we don’t have the right kinds of partners in leadership on the Palestinian side, is that we have to invest more energy in constraining their worst impulses than in trying to get a good outcome.”

The right approach to Israel, he opined, “comes about when you have an ally or a friend that is taking steps that you think are harmful and you put your arm around your friend and try to guide them somewhere else.”