Israel’s prime minister's statement that he plans to annex the Jordan Valley is a serious violation of the law, a UN spokesman said Wednesday.
"The Secretary-General is concerned by Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s statement declaring his intention, if elected, to annex the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea as a first step to applying Israeli sovereignty over all settlements and other areas in the occupied West Bank," Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
He highlighted that such steps, if implemented, would constitute a serious violation of international law which would be devastating to potential negotiations and regional peace as well as viability of a two-state solution.
He also stressed that the Israeli-Palestinian issue should be dealt with in line with UN resolutions and on the basis of a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders.
Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel will impose its sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and other settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s Israeli election.
Roughly 70,000 Palestinians, along with some 9,500 Jewish settlers, currently live in the Jordan Valley -- a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one-quarter of the West Bank.
Israel claims the valley is vital to its security and has consistently rejected the notion of relinquishing any part of it in any future settlement with the Palestinians.
Earlier this month Netanyahu renewed a pledge to annex all settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. "With God's help, we'll apply Jewish sovereignty on all the settlements, as part of the land of Israel and as part of the state of Israel," he said.
Some 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians see these territories, along with the Gaza Strip, as integral for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.