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Outrage after Netanyahu's poll promise to annex occupied Jordan Valley

Reacting on Netanyahu's outrageous promise, UN warned of its devastating impact on peace process

Wednesday September 11, 2019 11:24 AM, Agencies

Netanyahu Jordan Valley Annexation

Occupied Jerusalem: The United Nations on Tuesday warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his plan to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected would have no “international legal effect.”

Netanyahu made the highly controversial promise as he gears up for September 17 elections. He also said Israel would move to annex Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank.

Netanyahu said he would apply "Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea", the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, who leads the right-wing Likud party, is campaigning ahead of general elections next Tuesday. The annexation would be popular with right-wing parties which he would have to depend upon to form a coalition but fiercely opposed by Palestinians.

Polls suggest Likud is neck-and-neck with the opposition centrist Blue and White party and may struggle to form a governing coalition.

Israel occupied the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights, in the 1967 Middle East war but stopped short of annexation.

Reacting on Netanyahu's outrageous promise, UN warned of its devastating impact on peace process.

“The secretary-general’s position has always been clear: unilateral actions are not helpful in the peace process,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Any Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdictions and administration in the occupied West Bank is without any international legal effect,” the spokesman added.

“Such a prospect would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations, regional peace, and the very essence of a two-state solution", he said.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Netanyahu was “not only destroying the two-state solution, he is destroying all chances of peace.”

“This is a total game changer,” she told AFP.

Palestinians claim the whole of the West Bank for a future independent state. Netanyahu has previously insisted that Israel would always retain a presence in the Jordan Valley for security purposes.

It effectively annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, and the Golan Heights in 1981, although neither move was accepted internationally for decades.

The fate of the West Bank goes to the heart of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel has built about 140 settlements there and in East Jerusalem which are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

More than 600,000 Jews live in the settlements, which the Palestinians want removed.

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