Ahead of the Israeli parliamentary elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday has pledged to annex Kiryat Arba settlement and the old-city area of Hebron (Al-Khalil) if re-elected in the upcoming election on Tuesday.
Netanyahu made this promise in an interview on the Israeli army radio, where he responded to a question if he is willing to annex “the Jewish parts of Hebron including Kiryat Arba settlement”. Netanyahu responded that “these areas will be part of Israel,” adding: “But I need a mandate to do so”.
Earlier this month, Netanyahu made a visit to occupied Hebron (Al-Khalil) and said: “We will remain here forever.”
Netanyahu also said that he already told U.S. President Donald Trump his intention “to declare sovereignty over all Jewish complexes” in occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu’s remarks about annexing parts of Hebron (Al-Khalil) follows his pledge last week to annex the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank.
Observers see these promises as parts of his electoral campaign to gain votes from the right-wing base in Israel.
On Sunday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency meeting that addressed Netanyahu’s plans and called upon the international community and the UN to react against these plans.
Turkey, Arab League and European countries said they were concerned by Netanyahu’s annexation statement, with UN secretary general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric saying the 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.
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.
- Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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