In the last metres to the election: Netanyahu persists with annexation promises

In the shade of the upcoming Israeli elections on Tuesday, 17 September, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterates his position towards his pledge to annex parts of the West Bank if re-elected.

During a press conference on 10 September, Netanyahu stated, Today I announce my intention, upon forming the next government, to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea.

Only on Sunday, 15 September, he addressed the topic again, by saying that he plans to annex vital parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. During a cabinet meeting which was held in an illegal settlement in the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu talked about his plans to apply sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank.

Furthermore, the morning before the election, Netanyahu was asked in an interview on Army Radio’s ‘Good morning Israel’ if Kiryat Arba and the Jewish community in Hebron will be annexed.

Netanyahu responded Of course. They will be part of Israel. But I need a mandate to execute this plan. He further explained that his annexation plans go hand-in-hand with the Trump administration stating; I said this to Trump, I plan to apply sovereignty on all of the settlements, including in the blocs, and the territory [around it] and all the settlements and the sites that have importance from a security or Israeli heritage perspective.

Before this statement, Netanyahu has made several pledges towards his future annexation’s plans, which have been widely perceived as a calculated campaign move to win the votes of the far-right electoral base.

On the same day, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, released a statement in reaction to Netanyahu’s public speech, stating We have the right to defend our rights and achieve our goals by all available means, regardless of the consequences, as Netanyahu’s decisions contradict with United Nations resolutions and international law.

Furthermore, repeated annexation plans have caused international outcry and criticism. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has issued an emergency meeting in reaction to Netanyahu’s latest statements. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the OIC secretary-general, stated that the OIC would put in place mechanisms to hold Israel accountable for its aggression against the Palestinians.

On Wednesday, 11 September, the Russian Foreign Ministry also expressed its concerns about the recent statements made by the Israeli Prime Minister. In a statement, the Ministry stated: We share our concern over such plans of the Israeli leadership, the implementation of which could lead to a sharp escalation of tension in the region and undermine hopes for the establishment of a long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbour.

Source: Palestine Monitor