JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected in Sept 17 polls.
Palestinians immediately reacted by saying Netanyahu was destroying any hopes for peace, while his electoral opponents accused him of a cynical play for right-wing nationalist votes.
In his televised speech, the prime minister also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank if re-elected.
But he said he would do that in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote.
Those moves could effectively kill any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“There is one place where we can apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections,” Netanyahu said during the address that included a map of the Jordan Valley on an easel.
“If I receive from you, citizens of Israel, a clear mandate to do so ...today I announce my intention to apply with the formation of the next government Israeli sovereignty over Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.”
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019