Ahead Of Israeli Election, Netanyahu Pledges To Annex West Bank Settlements

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

Netanyahu Vows to Annex West Bank, Never Allow Palestinian State, If Reelected

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been fighting hard to maintain his hold on the Israeli premiership in what has been a bitter campaign. The answer is yes.

Asked in an interview on Israeli TV why he had not extended Israeli sovereignty to large settlements in the West Bank, he replied, "I will apply (Israeli) sovereignty, but I don't distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements".

Exceptions will be made for humanitarian cases, namely the passage of medical patients to Israeli hospitals, but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the army said. "I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians". The land has been disputed since Israel captured it in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move that had not previously been recognized internationally.

Asked by Channel 12 about annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he said that "we're on the way" and that "the next term (in office) will be fateful".

The Republican says America should tell Israel's enemies that if they seek "to destroy the one and only Jewish state, you have to come through us to get them".

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki pushed back Sunday on Netanyahu's annexation promise.

Some 400,000 Israeli settlers and 2.8 million Palestinians now live in in the West Bank.

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Netanyahu's statement was "not surprising".

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Not that many years ago, a two-state solution seemed nearly unstoppable and inevitable.

More than 600,000 Israelis now live on the war-won lands, the majority live in the West Bank.

In October past year, Netanyahu held surprise talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos in Muscat - raising Palestinian fears of a normalisation of ties.

"Israel will continue to brazenly violate worldwide law for as long as the global community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration's support", he said on Twitter. "The lack of character and values that are certainly inconsistent with Jewish values, I think, are only consolidating support in the Jewish community". In his prime time interview on Saturday, Netanyahu portrayed those moves of support from the Trump administration as his own achievements, the AP reports.

While Netanyahu has a close relationship with the United States president, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas cut off relations with Washington after Trump declared the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel's capital in December 2017.

The funds going to the region were allocated by the State Department and focus on the "root causes of violence" in order to "promote opportunity and security for their citizens", according to the US Global Leadership Coalition.

Several of the Trump administration's actions toward Israel have been praised by that country's leaders, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and a recent decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu is competing for votes with small far-right parties who advocate annexation.

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