Netanyahu’s election vow: I’ll impose sovereignty on West Bank

Speaking three days before Israel’s election, Benjamin Netanyahu told Channel 12 TV: “I will impose sovereignty, but I will not distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements.

“From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have responsibility, as the Israeli government.

“I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians.”

More than 400,000 Israelis live in the West Bank, west of the Jordan River, and Mr Netanyahu has encouraged settlement during his four terms as prime minister.

But any annexation would be a huge setback to the two-state solution backed by most of the international community as a possible solution to the long-running Middle East conflict.

Under a two-state solution, the West Bank is seen by Palestinians as part of their future state.

Mr Netanyahu’s promise is seen as a bid to gain more support from his nationalist base in the final days of election campaigning.

Mr Netanyahu faces a tight race against former military chief Benny Gantz, although his Likud party has a better chance of forming a ruling coalition, according to polls.

In the Channel 12 interview, Mr Netanyahu also congratulated himself for the US policy changes on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, saying he had influenced the US president on the matters.

Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the end of 2017, announcing the move of his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv.

This prompted Palestinians, who want east Jerusalem as their capital, to suspend contact with the US and talks aimed at finding a solution in the Middle East.

In March this year, Mr Trump said it was “time to recognise” Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel had seized from Syria in 1967. It is internationally-recognised as occupied territory.

Saeb Erekat, a veteran former Palestinian negotiator, blamed the international community – especially the Trump presidency – for Mr Netanyahu’s actions.

He 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.”

Meanwhile, Mr Trump was also speaking about Israel as he fights his own election campaign, telling the Republican Jewish Coalition: “We got you something that you wanted [the decision on Jerusalem].

“Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises.”

According to Pew Research Center, American Jewish voters identify with or lean towards the Democratic Party over the Republicans by a ratio of roughly 2-1.

2019-04-07T18:38:03+00:00By |

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