Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his pledge to annex part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank in July.
His comments were made on Monday, a day after his defiant appearance in front of a Jerusalem court in the first hearing of a corruption trial that is likely to last for months.
“We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass,” Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers, referring to the occupied West Bank using a biblical reference.
Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, following a systematic campaign by Zionist militias that led to the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages, and to the ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Palestinians. Palestinians remember those years as the Nakba or the Great Catastrophe.
Netanyahu’s remarks, reported by The Times of Israel newspaper, were made at the Likud party weekly meeting, at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).
“We have a target date in July to apply sovereignty and we will not change it,” Netanyahu told his supporters.
On April 20, Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz signed a coalition agreement that included a clause to advance plans to annex parts of the West Bank, estimated at 30% of the total territory, as early as July 1.
Palestinians have expressed outrage, appealing to the international community to block the Israeli step, which, if implemented, would be considered the final nail in the two-state solution’s coffin.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on May 19 that the PA is canceling all agreements with Israel and the US, as a direct response to Israel’s annexation plans.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle