Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank's Jordan Valley if re-elected

Netanyahu to annex occupied territories if re-elected Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu promises to annex Jordan Valley if he wins elections
Patty Aguilar | 11 September, 2019, 01:10

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday his intention to annex Jordan Valley in occupied West Bank if he wins next week's general elections, Reuters quoted an Israeli TV channel as saying.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu made absolutely clear today that, if re-elected next week, he plans to annex large portions of the West Bank, make the occupation permanent and condemn millions of Palestinians to a future of living under unending Israeli rule, without basic civil rights or self-determination, the group's president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement".

The map appeared to show Israeli territory completely encircling the West Bank, slicing off the eastern border with Jordan.

Annexing settlements would likely spell the end of any lingering hopes of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting, at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019.

"There is one place where we can apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections", Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

"Israel's unprecedented culture of impunity, enabled by global inaction, is the only explanation for Mr. Netanyahu's audacity in using annexation as an election ploy, and asking the Israeli public to facilitate yet another Israeli crime", said Erekat, who lives in the Jordan Valley.

"There is no change in United States policy at this time", a senior administration official told The Times of Israel.

"We will release our Vision for Peace after the Israeli election and work to determine the best path forward to bring long sought security, opportunity and stability to the region".

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Though in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote. Unlike Israeli settlers, West Bank Palestinians are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote.

Alleging fraud in Arab voting areas, Netanyahu has been pushing an unsuccessful campaign to place cameras in polling stations on election day.

The 2,400 square kilometre valley accounts for almost 30% of the territory in the West Bank.

Last March, just before Israel's previous election, Trump - in a move widely seen as an attempt to bolster Netanyahu - recognized Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 conflict.

The prime minister also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank if re-elected.

The proposal was dismissed by opponents as election theatrics, who have accused Netanyahu of trying to divert attention from a corruption scandal and Israel's security challenges.

He is again facing a hard challenge from ex-military chief Benny Gantz and his centrist Blue and White alliance.

He said the plan was being drafted in coordination with the Trump administration, which is expected to release its long-awaited Middle East peace plan sometime after Israel's September 17 election.

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