Netanyahu repeats vow to annex settlements in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his pledge to annex all illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in bid to win right-win elections just weeks from the ballot.

Netanyahu publicly announced amid a speech last Sunday 1 September, at the opening for the new School year in the Elkana, a settlement in the West Bank, that With the help of God we will apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, as part of the [biblical] Land of Israel, and as part of the state of Israel.

A spokesperson of Netanyahu, Rachel Broyde, clarified the Prime Ministers statement by explaining that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and the prime minister hopes to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law and are one major obstacle for a future peace agreement between Israel and Palestine and the visualisation of the Two-State Solution.

Today, there are approximately 400,000 settlers, 4.6 per cent of the Israeli population are settlers living in the West Bank, not counting the population of illegal outposts. Additionally, to the settlements in the West Bank, there are currently 215,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem, making the total number of Israeli settlers living in Palestinian Territories approximately 600,000.

On the Backdrop of the Israeli elections on 17 September, Netanyahu tries with its reiteration to annex settlements in the West Bank to catch for votes in the fragmented right-wing voter spectrum. Netanyahu is relying heavily on these votes, as he faces a close head-to-head race with his primary opponent, Benny Gantz.

Nabil Abu Rudeinh, a spokesperson of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stated in reaction to the recent announcement of Netanyahu that this marks a continuation of attempts to create an unacceptable fait accompli, adding that annexation would not lead to any peace, security or stability.

General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr Mustafa Barghouti, said in an interview with Palestine Monitor that, The fact that settlers in the West Bank are ruled under civil law and Palestinians are still tried under Israeli military law means this is full consolidation of an apartheid system in Palestine. This announcement is a dangerous development as it leads to further annexation and destruction of the possibility of peace.

This announcement is a dangerous development as it leads to further annexation and destruction of the possibility of peace, Barghouti continued. The international community must decide to take punitive actions of Israel under international law.

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, wrote on Twitter Enough impunity: There’s an international responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel after decades of systematic crimes.

Netanyahu has already made this promise on the eve before the election earlier in the year. In an interview on 6 April, he stated: I’m going to apply sovereignty, but I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlement points, because from my perspective every such point of settlement is Israeli.

He further added, We have a responsibility as the Israeli government. I won’t uproot anyone, and I won’t place them under Palestinian sovereignty. I’ll look out for everyone.

Source: Palestine Monitor