Thursday, November 21, 2019

Netanyahu promises to annex West Bank settlements after Israeli elections


By J.J. Rhies - April 08, 2019
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Israeli Elections] [settlements]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on April 6 that Israel would annex West Bank settlements if he won his upcoming re-election.

Netanyahu’s vow, which comes only three days before a difficult general election, was seen by some as an appeal to right-wing voters. He did not specify how far the annexation would extend.

 

“I will apply [Israeli] sovereignty, but I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements, because each settlement is Israeli and I will not hand it over to Palestinian sovereignty,” he said in a prime-time Saturday night interview on Channel 12 news.

 

“We have a responsibility as the Israeli government. I won’t uproot anyone and I won’t place them under Palestinian sovereignty. I’ll look out for everyone.”

 

“A Palestinian state will endanger our existence and I withstood huge pressure over the past eight years. No prime minister has withstood such pressure. We must control our destiny,” he added.  

 

Some 400,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, according to the West Bank Jewish Population Stats, and an additional 200,000 live in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The settlements are illegal according to international law, and Israel has come under fire from the United Nations and the International Criminal Court - among others - for its development of them, which some critics describe as a form of settler colonialism.

 

Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said on Twitter that Netanyahu’s pledge was “not surprising.”

 

“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.”

 

“We’ll continue to pursue our rights through international forums, including the International Criminal Court, until we achieve our long overdue justice,” Erekat said.

 

Netanyahu’s pre-election talk abounds

 

In an April 5 interview, Netanyahu told Israel Hayom that Israeli soldiers used lethal force “wisely” against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza.

 

He also said “The economic distress is its [Gaza’s] own problem, but the humanitarian distress is our problem. Issues with sanitation, disease, things that could make their way to us.”

 

“The goal [of Israeli military operations in Gaza] is deterrence, but so is preventing environmental and humanitarian problems that could harm Israel,” he added.

 

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces along the Israel-Gaza border fence since “Great March of Return” protests began just over a year ago.

 

The UN said there were “reasonable grounds” to conclude that Israeli soldiers’ use of lethal force was unlawful, and that personnel could be guilty of “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes.”

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