Israeli PM repeats pledge to annex settlements in West Bank
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to annex all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, he said on Sunday, reiterating an election promise made five months ago but again giving no timeframe.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians have voiced fears Netanyahu could defy international consensus and move ahead with annexation with possible backing from US President Donald Trump, a close ally.
“With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the (biblical) land of Israel, as part of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in Sunday’s speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana, where he attended a ceremony opening the school year.
"THIS IS OUR LAND, NOT PALESTINIANS"
Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, made a similar pledge days before an Israeli general election in April. After the vote, he failed to form a governing parliamentary majority and the country will hold a new election on Sept. 17.
His reaffirmation of the annexation promise came amid a campaign push to draw supporters of far-right factions to Likud in the coming election, in which votes are cast for a party’s list of parliamentary candidates.
“This is our land,” Netanyahu said in his speech in Elkana. “We will build another Elkana and another Elkana and another Elkana. We will not uproot anyone here.”