Netanyahu vows to annex large swathes of West Bank 'in maximum coordination with Trump'

Netanyahu vows to annex large swathes of West Bank 'in maximum coordination with Trump'
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walk along the Colonnade, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, back to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah D. Craighead)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he plans to annex large segments of the occupied West Bank if he wins reelection next week.


It's a move advocacy groups said would violate international law and the human rights of Palestinians.

"Give me the power to guarantee Israel's security. Give me the power to determine Israel's borders," Netanyahu said during a nationally televised speech, in which he unveiled a map detailing his proposal.

Netanyahu said he hopes to carry out the annexation "in maximum coordination with [U.S. President Donald] Trump."

Palestinian officials were outraged by the Israeli Prime Minister's speech.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator, said if Netanyahu's plan is implemented, he will "have succeeded in burying even any chance of peace between Palestinians and Israelis."

"Israel's plan to annex the Jordan Valley, an integral part of occupied Palestine, is manifestly illegal and merely adds to Israel's long history of violations of international law," said Ereka. "We need to end the conflict, and not to keep it for another 100 years."

The announcement comes just a week before Israeli voters head to the polls Tuesday for the second time in 2019 after Netanyahu failed to form a government following April's razor-close election.

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a coalition of hundreds of advocacy groups working to secure freedom and justice for the Palestinian people, tweeted Tuesday that Netanyahu's vow to annex large swathes of the West Bank "is a reminder that Israel is a state where apartheid policies are used to appeal to voters."

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal-leaning American Jewish advocacy group, warned in a statement that Netanyahu's plan would "make the occupation permanent and condemn millions of Palestinians to a future of living under unending Israeli rule, without basic civil rights or self-determination."

"Responsible lawmakers and presidential candidates must make clear that they will not give the Israeli government a blank check to violate U.S. interests and democratic values," said Ben-Ami. "They must make clear that annexation of any portion of the West Bank will lead to major consequences for the future of the U.S.-Israel relationship."

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