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US rejects Netanyahu ‘annexation’ talks claim

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Gaza23May6WASHINGTON (PNIC):-The United States dismissed as false on Monday statements by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that both parties were discussing the possibility of Israel annexing illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, in another display of discord between U.S. President Donald Trump and Netanyahu.

“On the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time,” Netanyahu told a closed-door meeting of his right-wing Likud party’s legislators, according to the party’s spokesman.

Later on Monday, the White House denied having such discussions and a senior Israeli official said Netanyahu had not made a specific annexation proposal to Washington.

“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false,” White House spokesman Josh Raffel said. “The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal.”

Issuing a clarification, the prime minister’s office stepped back from any suggestion of a dialogue with Washington on any government annexation plan. It said Netanyahu had only updated the Americans on proposed legislation in parliament.

The remarks stoked Palestinian anger, already high over Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a reversal of decades of U.S. policy.

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