The State Department has quietly been pushing the Israelis to abandon Palestinian land in order to make way for a new Palestinian state.
The Israeli government has long maintained that the territories under the Palestinian Authority, the entity in charge of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, are part of the state of Israel and the Palestinians must vacate them, and that the United States should stop supporting them.
In recent months, the administration has begun pushing for Israeli officials to accept such a deal and in recent weeks, the White House has sent mixed signals on whether it would consider moving forward with the plan.
In a December speech, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a settlement freeze would likely push Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move forward with a Palestinian state that would not be recognized internationally.
The White House’s push has become a major talking point in Washington, with the Trump administration repeatedly pressing Netanyahu to give way to a new Israeli state.
In January, the Trump White House even made a pitch to Netanyahu to accept a Palestinian bid for statehood at the U,S.
embassy in Tel Aviv.
The U.K. Foreign Office had previously pushed for a similar effort, but that effort was rebuffed.
The Israeli government and U.J. are expected to unveil a new initiative this week to try to broker a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians that would be a first step toward a peace deal.
The administration’s push for the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks came in the midst of a global campaign to pressure Israel to reverse course and accept the proposed Palestinian state in exchange for a settlement withdrawal.
The United States, Britain, France, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Nations and dozens of other countries have called on Israel to withdraw from the West’s most disputed territory.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been leading the effort to advance the peace process, sent a letter to Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, asking him to make the peace talks a priority.
He also asked Netanyahu to hold talks with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, a move the Israeli government rejected.