Palestinians angered by Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation remarks

Palestinians angered by Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation remarks

Palestinians angered by Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation remarks

Written by Reuters

07 Apr, 2019 | 6:40 pm

Reuters – Palestinians voiced alarm while Israelis weighed the gravity on Sunday (April 7) of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sudden election promise to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Some Israeli commentators saw the right-wing leader’s pledge on Saturday, as Tuesday’s national ballot approaches, as mainly a bid to siphon votes from ultranationalist rivals long advocating annexation.

But after years of resisting far-right calls to formally put West Bank land captured in the 1967 Middle East war under permanent Israeli hold, Netanyahu could be counting on support for a dramatic shift from his close ally, U.S. President Donald Trump.

In March, Trump broke with decades of international consensus by recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria. That followed his December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the U.S. embassy’s move to the holy city last May.

Asked in an interview on Friday on Israel’s Channel 13 why he wasn’t pressing Trump now to approve a West Bank settlement status change, Netanyahu replied: “Wait until the next term.”

Taking Netanyahu at his word, Palestinians seeking statehood in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem called his settlement annexation remarks a violation of international law regarding occupied territory.

“His declaration is not just in the heat of … electioneering campaigns” said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestine Liberation Organization official. “This is the end of any chances of peace.”

A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip, said “We warn the Zionist occupation not to commit any stupidity and the reaction to these crimes and stupidity will be resistance, popular resistance and armed resistance, with all the power we have, because we are staying put on this land and the occupation should leave our land”.

 

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