10:58 GMT18 May 2021
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    As part of his campaign pledge, the prime minister seeks to gain sovereign control over the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but is now asserting that Israel’s annexation plans will not stop there.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday to annex “vital” parts of the West Bank beyond the Jordan Valley and the Israeli settlement blocs, if re-elected as prime minister on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported.

    In his comments to Army Radio, he said his annexation plans are coordinated with the United States, adding that he is the only candidate who is capable of withstanding White House pressure.

    “After immense diplomatic efforts, I am laying the groundwork toward recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as our eastern defensive wall, and after, over all the settlements and other vital areas, those in the (settlement) blocs and those outside,” Netanyahu said. “And all that, I want to do together with President Trump.”

    The Prime Minister did not elaborate on what parts of the West Bank he is eyeing, but said that consecutive annexation is a process being pushed with the blessing of the Trump administration.

    “This is a historic opportunity, because after the epic holding battle I led against pressures to return to the 67 lines, I am now turning the direction of our history,” Netanyahu declared. ” Instead of withdrawals, evacuations and concessions, we are now turning toward recognition and rights.”

    He claimed that several previous administrations exerted “immense” pressure on him to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, but he withstood it for decades.

    “The question of who will ensure the future of Jewish settlement is clear,” Netanyahu said. “Who will be able to negotiate with President Trump? The other [candidates] won’t be able to stand against US pressure.”

    Critics of the prime minister are not impressed with Bibi, arguing that he could have lived up to his promises long ago. But the Likud leader insists that everything must come at the right time.

    “There are stages that have to happen,” Netanyahu said. “I caused [the Trump administration] to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after that to move the embassy there and then recognize our sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

    Netanyahu dismissed a map shared earlier by the Yamina party’s Naftali Bennett in Facebook, which reportedly details the territory of Israel and the West Bank according to Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan, as “fake news” and admitted that he would wait until after the elections to detail his claims.

    Under current conditions, the West Bank borders Jordan by the Jordan River. Israel seeks to annex Jordan Valley in a bid to take control of the entire length of the Jordanian border, claiming national security. 

    The Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, who claim that Tel Aviv has violated the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Israel claims the convention does not apply in this case. 

    Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank is currently divided into three areas: Area A, which includes all large Palestinian cities and is under control of the Palestinian Authority; Area B, which is under the PA’s civilian control and Israeli security control; and Area C, controlled exclusively by Israel. The Palestinians seek to regain full control of the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza Strip territory as a single state with a capital in East Jerusalem.


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    annexation, West Bank, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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