Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s general election.
Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live on Israeli TV on Tuesday:
“Today, I announce my intention, after the establishment of a new government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.”
Netanyahu announcing his intentions for the next stages of Israeli Apartheid pic.twitter.com/efdrNH3VgY
— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) September 10, 2019
The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea constitute almost 30 percent of the West Bank. Some 65,000 Palestinians and about 11,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in the area – most of which is under Israeli military control in what is referred to as Area C.
Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political life in a closely contested election, reaffirmed the pledge to annex all Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank – but said such a move would not be made before publication of a long-awaited US peace plan and consultations with President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu: "If I am elected I commit to annex the Jordan Valley. It is our eastern border, our defense wall"https://t.co/2TcJSoqJPo
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) September 10, 2019
There was no immediate comment from Washington.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh – in a statement issued shortly before Netanyahu spoke, amid reports of a possible annexation announcement – said the Israeli leader is “a prime destroyer of the peace process”.
“The Palestinian territory is not part of Netanyahu’s election campaign.”
Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh warns of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in order to garner more votes in the upcoming election. pic.twitter.com/ymiIxVk7ZE
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) September 10, 2019
The 2,400-square kilometer Jordan Valley, which Palestinians seek for the eastern perimeter of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, stretches from the Dead Sea in the south to the Israeli city of Beit Shean in the north.
Israel has long said it intends to maintain military control there under any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Israeli PM Netanyahu makes controversial pledge to annex Jordan Valley in occupied West Bank if re-elected next week https://t.co/ft7GKSA7IZ
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) September 10, 2019
Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war.
Netanyahu’s announcement appeared to be aimed at shoring up the support of hard-line nationalist voters. He is in a tight race and has turned to a series of dramatic announcements in recent days as part of a frantic effort to mobilize his supporters.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)