Anger over Netanyahu pledge to annex illegal settlements

Anger over Netanyahu pledge to annex illegal settlements

Anger over Netanyahu pledge to annex illegal settlements

In an interview with Israel's Channel 12 News, Netanyahu promised to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if elected for another term next week.

In a television interview Saturday night, three days before the April 9 elections, Netanyahu declared: "We will ensure that we are in charge on the ground".

The United States broke with decades of worldwide consensus last month by recognising Israeli "sovereignty" over the occupied Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria.

Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now refrained from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank, viewed by Palestinians as the heartland of a future state.

But Netanyahu trailed his main challenger, Benny Gantz, a former army chief of staff, in final polls of the campaign published Friday.

Turkey on Sunday criticized Netanyahu as "irresponsible" for saying he would annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins Tuesday's election.

Asked about the hoped-for U.S. recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the West Bank, Netanyahu told Channel 13 News to "wait until the next term".

Israel has held the West Bank since capturing it from Jordan in 1967 but despite allowing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to settle there, it has never extended its sovereignty beyond the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. The West Bank is home to some 2.9 million Palestinians, the Palestinian Statistics Bureau says. Morag said. The answer, she told Reuters, was that Netanyahu feared for his political survival and "the times dictate he makes these extreme declarations that he has no intention to follow through on".

52 percent of Israelis surveyed said they thought Netanyahu would be the next prime minister, while 27 percent said it would be Gantz.

Israel's prime minister has aligned closely with Donald Trump in his battle for political survival ahead of Tuesday's elections a troubling tactic for the roughly 75% of American Jewish voters who lean Democratic.

"We hope that the positive and lovely statements that we have heard today will be translated in the next term into legislation and we will uphold our right to equality, and will not be left with empty promises like we have heard so far", said Hizki, director of The Aguda - Israel's LGBT Task Force.

Such a move has been ardently sought by the settler movement but resisted until now by Netanyahu, and by more moderate Israelis, as a potentially fatal blow to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Such a statement by Netanyahu is not surprising", Erekat wrote on Twitter.

Most world nations consider the West Bank, as well as other territories seized by Israel following the 1967 war, occupied. "Will Western democracies react or will they keep appeasing?"

Palestinian negotiators have boycotted contact with the Trump administration since it, in another break with longtime policy, moved the USA embassy to Jerusalem and recognized the city as the country's capital, enraging Palestinians, who also consider the city their capital.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state they are seeking.

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