02:37 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Avigdor Lieberman.

    Israeli Defense Minister Warns of Rift With US Over Any West Bank Annexations

    © AFP 2019 / Wolfgang Kumm
    Middle East
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    Any move by Israel to fully annex the Israeli-occupied parts of the West Bank would provoke a crisis in relations with the United States as well as severe financial and legal implications, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, members of the right-wing Likud party called on the government to fully claim the Palestinian territories currently under Israeli military control, namely the so-called zone C and the Ma'ale Adumim settlement in particular. The Jewish settlement, considered illegal under international law, is one of West Bank's largest and is located just several miles outside of Jerusalem.

    "We have no intention to do so… Beyond the financial issue, we received a direct message – applying sovereignty means an immediate crisis with the new [US] administration. So whoever wants strife with the US and to spend NIS 20 billion [$5.4 billion] – go ahead. I am calling on the rest of the MKs, especially from the coalition to be responsible," Lieberman told the Knesset, as quoted by The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

    He stressed that the billions in extra spending would come from social security payments to the millions of Palestinians that Israel would have to grant residency after the annexation.

    Knesset's right wingers have been pushing for a bill to annex Ma'aleh Adumim but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tempered the demands, asking for the bill to be debated later on.

    Over 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to United Nations figures. The settlements are considered illegal by the United Nations, and West Bank territory is considered occupied territory by the International Court of Justice. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Unlike zone C, zones A and B, which comprise around a half of the territory, are ruled by the Palestinian Authority.

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    Avigdor Lieberman, West Bank, United States, Israel
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