White House denies settlement annexation talks with Israel

General view of houses of the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev, in the occupied West Bank on Feb 7, 2017.
General view of houses of the Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev, in the occupied West Bank on Feb 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House on Monday (Feb 12) flatly denied Israeli claims that talks are underway to annex land claimed by Palestinians, in a rare public show of disunity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had been in talks with Washington about annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move that could shatter a peace process that is already on life support.

That was denied by White House spokesman Josh Raffel, who works closely with Jared Kushner.

"Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false," he said.

"The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president's focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative."