Mike Pompeo meets Netanyahu to discuss West Bank annexation

The visit comes amid fresh violence in the Palestine territory

May 13, 2020 10:23 pm | Updated 10:23 pm IST

Mike Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, as Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teen in a clash with stone-throwers in the occupied territory.

Mr. Pompeo’s brief visit came at a tense time, as Israeli troops searched for the killers of a soldier killed a day earlier by a rock dropped from a rooftop during an army raid of a West Bank village.

Standing alongside Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Netanyahu said the six-hour visit is a “testament to the strength of our alliance.” The two said their talks would focus on shared concerns about Iran, the battle against the coronavirus and Israel’s incoming government.

Mr. Netanyahu and his new coalition partner, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, postponed the swearing-in of their government until Thursday to accommodate Mr. Pompeo’s visit.

Mr. Pompeo also met with Mr. Gantz and with his fellow retired military chief Gabi Ashkenazi, the new government’s incoming Foreign Minister.

Neither Mr. Netanyahu nor Mr. Pompeo mentioned Wednesday’s violence in southern West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 15-year-old boy was killed in confrontations with Israeli forces near the city of Hebron. It said four others were wounded by live fire, the ministry said. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

On Tuesday, an Israeli soldier was killed in the northern West Bank after being struck in the head with a rock thrown off a rooftop. The military said it had arrested 10 suspects.

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