"Today, I announce my intention to expand Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the North Dead Sea after the formation of a new government." These are the words the Israeli Prime Minister addressed to the people on Tuesday in a live televised speech. The project - the annexation of the Jordan Valley - could be implemented immediately after the parliamentary election, said Benjamin Netanyahu .
The Jordan Valley accounts for approximately one-third of the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. Israel sees it as an important defense barrier; Right-wing politicians emphasized in the past that they would never give up the area.
Israel elects a new parliament on 17 September. According to opinion polls, Netanyahu's right-wing conservative Likud and the Alliance of the Center, blue and white, head-to-head in the election.
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Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he wanted only to annex all the Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley and the "Northern Dead Sea" - Palestinian places such as Jericho remained untouched. However, these settlements account for about 90 percent of the area.
Netanyahu also reaffirmed his resolve to lobby for the annexation of Jewish settlements in other parts of the West Bank. The Middle East Peace Plan, long-announced by US President Donald Trump, is a "unique and historic opportunity to exercise our sovereignty over our settlements in Judea and Samaria, as well as other places important to our security, heritage and future," he said.
The reactions to Netanyahu's election promises
More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem annexed by Israel - in addition to three million Palestinians. The UN considers the settlements illegal. Uno spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Tuesday that any decision by Israel to "impose" its administration, laws and jurisdiction on the West Bank would not endure internationally.
If Netanyahu actually implemented the announcements for re-election, that would not only mean the end of a possible two-state solution from the point of view of the Palestinians. Netanyahu's plans also destroyed "all prospects for peace," Palestinian Representative Hanan Aschrawi told AFP. The plans only left the Palestinians control of some cities, Palestine would be "erased," Aschrawi said.
The foreign ministers of the Arab League criticized Netanyahu's plans as damaging to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat called Netanyahu's planned action a war crime.
From Saudi Arabia it was said that Netanyahu's plans were categorically rejected. The announcement was a "very dangerous escalation" directed against the Palestinian people and a "blatant violation" of the UN Charter and international law, said in a statement of the royal family in Riyadh, on Wednesday by the state news agency SPA was disseminated.
Turkey also condemned the plans. Netanyahu's "election pledge" is a "racist apartheid state," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu writes on Twitter. Turkey will "defend to the end" the rights and interests of its Palestinian brothers and sisters.