Palestinians slam Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to annex territory after election

Sept. 11 (UPI) — Arab leaders have condemned a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he plans to annex Palestinian territories is he wins re-election next week.

Netanyahu made the promise Tuesday, saying he intends to annex the Jordan Valley — a Palestinian territory along the Jordan River between Jordan and the West Bank — and areas near the northern Dead Sea.

“We haven’t had this kind of opportunity since the [1967] Six-Day War, and may not have it again for another 50 years,” Netanyahu told supporters.

The Arab League convened an emergency session late Tuesday, at which they said such a move would effectively kill any chance of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“The league regards these statements as undermining the chances of any progress in the peace process and will torpedo all its foundation,” it said in a statement.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he will disregard all agreements signed with the Israeli government if Netanyahu annexes any part of any Palestinian land.

Netanyahu is up for re-election Sept. 17 after he failed to form a coalition government after prior elections in April. He faces several challengers, but is expected to remain in office.

Jordan foreign minister Ayman Safadi dismissed the plan as an election ploy and called it a “dangerous escalation that shatters the foundations of the peace process.” Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also denounced the Israeli leader’s pledge.

“The election promise of Netanyahu, who is giving all kind of illegal, unlawful and aggressive messages before the election, is a racist apartheid state,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey will defend the “rights and interests of our Palestinian brothers and sisters [until] the end.”

Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister since 2009, has already angered Palestinians by demolishing housing and building new Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“More than five decades after the return of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria, we congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu for taking a historic step toward the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland,” pro-Israeli settlement group Regavism said.

U.S. President Donald Trump‘s administration plans to unveil an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan after the election. Palestinians have already rejected the notion.

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