Turkey lambasts Netanyahu over annexation remarks


Turkish foreign minister on Sunday dubbed as “embarrassing” the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to annex large parts of occupied lands in the West Bank.

Mevlut Cavusoglu was speaking at the emergency meeting of foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah.

“This embarrassing statement is a vile attempt to win a few more votes in the coming election at the expense of destroying the hopes of [achieving] a lasting peace in the Middle East,” Cavusoglu said.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu, appealing to his voters ahead of polls slated for Sept. 17, said: “I announce my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, if the Israeli citizens elect me.”

The top Turkish diplomat said the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories inflicted heavy damage on the daily lives of the Palestinians.

He went on to state that Israel was encouraged by “some” countries and its political system has been on the verge of turning into an apartheid and racist regime.

“This new fait-accompli should be a warning to those [countries] who are giving a blank check to Israeli violations and provocations,” he said, and called on the Muslim world to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

He added that this fresh annexation comments by the Israeli government should make Muslim countries question the so-called “Deal of the Century” and some members of the OIC should raise an objection to the Israel’s illegal actions.

The foreign minister expressed gratitude over the reaction of the international community toward Netanyahu’s annexation statement.

“This [international reaction] is positive, but not enough,” he said, calling on the globe to take firm action against such baseless illegal claims.

Stressing that the core point of the establishment of the OIC was Palestine, Cavusoglu went on to say a proper peace plan should “meet the expectations of the Palestinians and fix the historical injustice.”

Roughly 70,000 Palestinians — along with some 9,500 Jewish settlers — currently live in the Jordan Valley, which is a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one-quarter of the West Bank’s overall territory.

Turkey, Arab League and European countries said they were concerned by Netanyahu’s annexation statement, with UN secretary general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said annexation plan would violate international law.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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