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Israeli PM vows to begin annexing West Bank settlements

Israeli PM vows to begin annexing West Bank settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he intends to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if he stays in power after the country's election. Some see the area as Palestinian territory while Netanyahu says it's rightfully his to annex.

"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 said in speech broadcast live on Israeli TV on Tuesday.

But Mr Netanyahu said such a move would not be made before publication of a long-awaited United States peace plan and consultations with President Donald Trump.

Those moves could effectively kill any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of worldwide diplomacy.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said: 'He is not only destroying the two-state solution, he is destroying all chances of peace'.

"This is a total game changer", she told AFP.

He did not mention what he would do with the Jordan Valley's 2 million Palestinian residents.

"The annexation plan will annex the entire Jordan Valley along the whole borders from Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea". "Netanyahu was the one who drafted a plan to waive the Jordan Valley in 2014".

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"This is a historic, one-time opportunity to apply Israeli sovereignty on our settlements. and other places of importance to our security, our heritage and our future".

Trump has thrown United States support overwhelmingly in favor of Israel since taking office, including by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians.

Next week's elections in Israel come just five months after the last time at the polls where Netanyahu's right wing won the majority of seats but failed to come to an agreement and join into one governing coalition.

Netanyahu said Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, leaders of the Blue and White party, Likud's main rival, have already promised to uproot 80,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu's announcement was the latest in a series of frenetic moves he has made in recent days aimed at rallying his hardline voters ahead of the September 17 election, and his plan would hinge on a number of factors, most critically whether U.S. President Donald Trump would support him. Pending a hearing, the prime minister faces indictments in three criminal cases involving fraud, bribery and breach of trust.

Netanyahu pledged yet again to annex West Bank settlements if he wins reelection next week.

But Netanyahu also announced plans to coordinate with President Donald Trump to annex all Israel settlements in the West Bank, if reelected.