01:11 GMT04 August 2021
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on former Israeli military chief Benny Gantz and former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman to create a government of national unity with the goal of extending Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley.

    On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the "establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law." Netanyahu welcomed the change in policy, saying on Monday that it "rights a historical wrong."

    "I have called on [leader of the Blue and White alliance] Benny Gantz and [leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party] Avigdor Lieberman to form a government of national unity that would protect Israel and annex the Jordan Valley," Netanyahu said in a statement released on his official Twitter account on Tuesday.

    Netanyahu held a meeting with Gantz late on Tuesday. Gantz was handed the mandate to try to form a 61-seat majority last month, after Netanyahu failed to complete the task in 28 days. At the end of October, Gantz tried to get Lieberman to agree to form a majority coalition.

    Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said in a Monday statement that the change in the US stance on Israeli settlement activity threatens global stability. Erekat emphasized that under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Israel’s settlements activity in the occupied territories "falls within the definition of war crimes."

    High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said in a Monday statement that the European Union still considered all Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal, despite the change in the stance of the current US administration.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed on Tuesday that Russia remained committed to the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, adopted in 2016, under which the Jewish settlement presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal.


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    Israel, Palestinians, Benny Gantz, Avigdor Lieberman, Government, coalition
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