Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. „I will not clear a single settlement, and of course I will see to it that we control the area west of the Jordan,“ Netanyahu said on Israeli television. The next legislature will be fatal, according to the party leader of the right-conservative Likud.
„Will we be able to maintain our security and control of the essential territory of Judea and Samaria (West Bank)? We saw what we got after a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip,“ Netanyahu said. In case of another withdrawal, a „Gaza Strip in Judea and Samaria“ is to be feared.
Israel cleared the Gaza Strip in 2005 and in 2007 radical Islamic Hamas took control of it. Netanyahu said he has gotten US President Donald Trump to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. They now want to „move on to the next phase“ and expand Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank. This was above all a demand ultra-right coalition partner Netanyahu.
Netanyahu had in the past advocated the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state. Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-Day War. There live today more than 600,000 Israeli settlers in more than 200 settlements.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, in particular, is constantly pressing for the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians want the areas instead for their own state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was hardly surprised by Netanyahu’s comments. „Israel will continue to violate international law and shamelessly as long as the international community rewards Israel with impunity,“ he said on Twitter.
General election on Tuesday
Israel elects a new parliament on Tuesday. The opposition Alliance of the Center, blue-and-white by ex-military chief Benny Gantz, could become the strongest force after polls, just ahead of Netanyahu’s right-wing conservative Likud. However, it is questionable whether Gantz can win the majority in parliament for forming a government.