Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

The race appears too close to call in its final days, as Netanyahu faces a strong challenge from Benny Gantz, a popular former army chief.

Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

"Netanyahu's supreme and indeed only imperative will be to cobble together an indictment coalition: one that will make it possible for him to continue to serve even after the hearing and after he's indicted", political analyst Yossi Verter wrote in the liberal Israeli daily Haaretz on Friday.

The US State Department declined to comment on Netanyahu's statement.

"Israel will continue to brazenly violate worldwide law for as long as the global community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration's support", he said on Twitter.

In an interview with Israeli Channel 12 News three days ahead of the April 9 poll, Netanyahu was asked why he had not extended sovereignty to large West Bank settlements, as Israel did without global recognition in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, both captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Applying sovereignty to Israeli settlements on West Bank land that the Palestinians demand for a future state, presumably along with the roads and infrastructure tethering those places to the rest of Israel, would leave the Palestinians at best with an archipelago of disconnected territory.

Along with settlements, "our ongoing control of all the territory west of the Jordan" River was a further condition set by the Israeli premier for any US -led peace initiative.

Netanyahu has cast Gantz, a former military chief, as a weak leftist who would endanger Israel's security by giving territorial concessions to the Palestinians. And if Netanyahu wins reelection to his fourth consecutive term on Tuesday, and with Trump's blessing, goes forward with annexing the West Bank settlements, the two-state solution will nearly certainly be dead for good. But if it became clear it's not in the cards right now, then he can just say, 'Sorry, I can't swing it.

The Palestinians have been boycotting the Trump administration over its Jerusalem moves and other recent decisions they view as pro-Israel bias.

Trump has teased the long-promised USA peace proposal as the "deal of the century", but it will undoubtedly be as Netanyahu-sided as everything else the Trump administration has done when it comes to Israel.

President Donald Trump seemed to refer to a crowd of Jewish Republicans as Israelis multiple times within a speech Saturday.

Netanyahu did not say whether he would seek to annex areas now under Palestinian control under the Oslo Accords. At the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention, red "Trump 2016" yarmulkes were a big hit.

How does Trump see the election: "I think it's going to be close".

However, as part of his platform he has vowed to "fix" the controversial Jewish nation-state law which defined Israel as the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people.

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