- Title: Israel's Netanyahu says he plans to annex settlements in West Bank
- Date: 6th April 2019
- Summary: ARIEL SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK (FILE - 2010) (REUTERS) CAR DRIVING BY ROAD SIGN READING (English/Hebrew/Arabic): "ARIEL" SIGN READING (English/Hebrew/Arabic): "ARIEL" ARMY JEEP DRIVING PAST, CRANE AND BUILDING IN CONSTRUCTION STAGES IN BACKGROUND CONSTRUCTION AREA SHOWING ARIEL SETTLEMENT BULLDOZER AT CONSTRUCTION SITE WORKERS AT CONSTRUCTION SITE BULLDOZERS NEAR SHILO SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK (FILE - OCTOBER 2015) (REUTERS) VIEW OF SHILO AND SHEVUT RACHEL SETTLEMENTS, AN AREA WHERE ISRAEL'S SECURITY CABINET APPROVED THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SETTLEMENT ROAD SIGN READING (English/Hebrew/Arabic): "SHILO/ SHEVUT RACHEL" VARIOUS OF SETTLEMENTS VARIOUS OF ISRAELI FLAG ON STRUCTURE
- Embargoed: 20th April 2019 21:55
- Keywords: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu West Bank settlements annex Israel
- Location: JERUSALEM / ARIEL SETTLEMENT, NEAR SHILO SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK
- City: JERUSALEM / ARIEL SETTLEMENT, NEAR SHILO SETTLEMENT, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002A9BOFNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday (April 6) he would annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins another term in office in a vote on Tuesday (April 9), a last-minute pre-election promise likely to enrage Palestinians and the Arab world.
In an interview to Israeli Channel 12 News, Netanyahu was asked why he hadn't extended Israeli sovereignty to large West Bank settlements, as it has done in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, other territory seized in the 1967 Middle East war.
"Who says that we won't do it? We are on the way and we are discussing it," Netanyahu said.
"You are asking whether we are moving on to the next stage - the answer is yes, we will move to the next stage. I am going to extend (Israeli) sovereignty and I don't distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlements."
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
Some of the parties Netanyahu said he would seek to include in a coalition government if he wins the election advocate annexing parts of the West Bank. Netanyahu is competing with those parties for pro-settler voters in the April 9 election. His comments are likely to appeal to such voters, who object to ceding lands to the Palestinians.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.
Most countries consider settlements that Israel has built in territory captured in the 1967 war to be illegal. Israel disputes this citing historical ties, and says the future of the land should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.
The United States broke with decades of international consensus last month by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria.
(Production: Roleen Tafakji)
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