Palestinian Leaders Denounce Netanyahu’s Vow to Annex West Bank

The Jewish settlement of Avnei Hefetz, in the West Bank. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Palestinian leaders reacted with anger to Netanyahu’s vow to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins another term in office.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and a close aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said:

“Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump Administration’s support and endorsement of Israel’s violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine.”

In Gaza, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri urged Abbas’s Western-backed Palestinian Authority to halt its security cooperation with Israel in the occupied West Bank.

He said:

“Netanyahu’s dreams of annexing the West Bank will never be achieved and we will not allow that to happen.”

He added:

“It is time for (the PA) to stop security coordination with the occupation, and to get united in the face of the challenges.”

Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.

After decades of settlement-building, more than 400,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank, according to Israeli figures, among about 2.9 million Palestinians according to the Palestinian Statistics Bureau.

A further 212,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Palestinians and many countries consider settlements to be illegal under the Geneva conventions that bar settling on land captured in war. Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, all territory Israel captured in 1967. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem and withdrawn from Gaza. The West Bank remains under Israeli military occupation with limited Palestinian self-rule.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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