Israeli PM vows to 'extend sovereignty' to West Bank settlements

Israeli PM vows to 'extend sovereignty' to West Bank settlements

Israelis go to the polls on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) and Mr Netanyahu is competing for votes with right-wing parties who support annexing part of the West Bank.

In March, Trump broke with decades of global consensus by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria.

Netanyahu did not say whether he would seek to annex areas now under Palestinian control under the Oslo Accords.

In an interview with Israeli Channel 12 News three days ahead of the 9 April poll, Netanyahu was asked why he had not extended sovereignty to large West Bank settlements, as Israel did without worldwide recognition in east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, both captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. However, intermittent USA mediation between Israelis and Palestinians ran aground after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital early in his term.

The former House representative said that Netanyahu doesn't represent the best interests of the U.S. -Israel relationship or of the future of the peace process in the Middle East.

More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements as part of Israel's military occupation of the territory, where more than 2.5 million Palestinians live.

Trump says that as 2020 election nears, "I know that the Republican Jewish Coalition will help lead our party to another historic victory". "This is the end of any chance of peace".

A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip, said "the response to (Israeli) crimes and foolishness will be met by popular resistance, armed resistance and by all our might".

Netanyahu vowed to annex the occupied West Bank if he wins the general election which is slated for April 9.

"For the past 10 years, Netanyahu has blocked applying Israeli law to even a centimeter of land", Bennett tweeted. According to one news report, Netanyahu didn't even consider asserting sovereignty over the West Bank settlements until after Trump's Golan Heights decision, and he was certain Trump "would give him backing and legitimization" for the subsequent move once the long-expected USA peace proposal was released and inevitably rejected by the Palestinians.

At the local high school, Harel Levi, 18, was not so sure.

Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now refrained from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank, viewed by Palestinians as the heartland of a future state.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014, when a drive for a deal by Barack Obama's administration collapsed.

Haresha also received the green-light for 720 new homes, eliminating uncertainty regarding the town's status more than 20 years after the first families started the community. Now that is his nightmare scenario, since Blue and White has a slight lead in most of the final polls, and Zehut leader Moshe Feiglin has not committed to either side, despite being on the far Right, which would mean neither bloc has a majority, even if the Right is larger.

Trump also took credit for eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and for pulling the US out of several U.N. organizations, the U.N. Human Rights Council and UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias in their agendas.

Palestinians argue that Washington did not do enough in practice to press for settlements to be curbed. In the eyes of most of the world, it would also be a violation of worldwide law that bars the annexation of land seized in war. Annexation could take that off the table.

And they warned that Netanyahu's sharp Right turn could just be empty campaign promises.

The Israeli prime minister was asked if he was familiar with the details of the United States plan, replying he knew "what should be in it". Morag said. The answer, she told Reuters, was that Netanyahu feared for his political survival and "the times dictate he makes these extreme declarations that he has no intention to follow through on".

Gantz has accused Netanyahu of inciting against Israel's Palestinian Arab citizens and embracing extremists by allying with the far-right Jewish Power Party.

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