Netanyahu repeats his plan to annex occupied Jordan Valley
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention on Tuesday to annex the occupied Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the occupied West Bank, if he wins a closely contested election just a week away.
"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 a speech broadcast live on Israeli TV channels, calling the area "Israel’s eastern border".
"TRUMP IS LIKELY TO RELEASE HIS MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN SOON"
That step, he said, could be taken “immediately after the election if I receive a clear mandate to do so from you, the citizens of Israel”.
"Out of respect for President Trump and great faith in our friendship, I will await applying sovereignty until release of the president’s political plan," he said, referring to a long-awaited blueprint from Washington for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The US plan, Netanyahu reiterated, would likely be presented very soon after Israel goes to the polls on Sept. 17. Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party and in office for the past decade, failed to form a governing coalition following a national ballot in April.
Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The main Palestinian city is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.