Pompeo discusses West Bank annexation with Israel's Netanyahu: 'There remains work yet to do'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to discuss the annexation of the West Bank, along with the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Pompeo’s one-day visit comes during what is expected to be a tense time, as Israel prepares to annex the West Bank and Jordan Valley settlements.

“There remains work yet to do, and we need to make progress on that,” Pompeo said Wednesday when addressing the peace plan discussions.

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Netanyahu said in April that he is “confident” President Trump will honor his pledge to aid Israel in carrying out the annexation and “that we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism.”

Pompeo arrived one day after the death of an Israeli soldier, killed in the West Bank during a nighttime arrest in a Palestinian village.

“I want to express my condolences, too, for the more solid yesterday that was killed,” Pompeo said in a Wednesday press briefing. “It reminds us all of the importance of making sure people all across the world know that Israel has the right to defend itself, and America will consistently support you in that effort.”

There was no mention of the 15-year-old Palestinian boy killed during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Wednesday.

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Iran and China were also on the table for discussion Wednesday.

“You’re a great partner,” Pompeo told Netanyahu, alluding to China talks. “You share information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide information. We’ll talk about that country, too.”

Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz postponed swearing in their new government until Thursday in light on Pompeo’s visit.

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Under the new agreement -- and due to three parliamentary elections resulting in stalemates -- Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for 18 months and then Gantz will serve in the role for 18 months. Under the new agreement, Netanyahu can advance his annexation plans starting July 1.

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The agreement stipulates that the annexation must be done in coordination with the United States and in consideration of regional stability and peace agreements.

“There is an unbreakable bond of values and truce that has kept this alliance together,” Netanyahu told Pompeo. “It’s never been stronger.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.