Turkey’s foreign minister on Tuesday slammed Israel’s prime minister over his “illegal, unlawful and aggressive” messages in election pledges, saying they are part of “a racist apartheid state”.
“The election promise of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who is giving all kind of illegal, unlawful and aggressive messages before the election, is a racist apartheid state,” Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted in English.
Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel will impose its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and other settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s Israeli election.
“[Turkey] Will defend rights and interests of our Palestinian brothers sisters till the end,” Cavusoglu added.
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's Netanyahu announces post-election plan to annex West Bank's Jordan Valley
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention on Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the occupied West Bank, if he wins a closely contested election just a week away.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that "all signed agreements with Israel and the obligations resulting from them would end" if Netanyahu went through with the move.Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war and Palestinians, who signed interim peace deals with Israel in the 1990s that include security cooperation, seek to make the area part of a future state.Israeli political commentators saw Netanyahu's declaration, in a speech broadcast live on Israel's main TV channels, as a bid to siphon support away from far-right rivals who have long advocated annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank."Today, I announce my intention, after the establishment of a new government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live on Israeli TV channels, calling the area "Israel's eastern border".That step, he said, could be taken "immediately after the election if I receive a clear mandate to do so from you, the citizens of Israel".Arab League foreign ministers condemned Netanyahu's plan, saying it would undermine any chance of progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace.Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. The main Palestinian city is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.Fighting for his political life after an inconclusive election in April, Netanyahu also reaffirmed a pledge to annex all of the settlements Israel has established in the West Bank. But he said that broader step could take longer and required "maximum coordination" with Washington, Israel's close ally."Out of respect for President Trump and great faith in our friendship, I will await applying sovereignty until release of the president's political plan," he said, referring to a long-awaited blueprint from Washington for Israeli-Palestinian peace.The U.S. plan, Netanyahu reiterated, would likely be presented very soon after Israel goes to the polls on Sept. 17. Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party and in office for the past decade, failed to form a governing coalition following a national ballot in April."There is no change in United States policy at this time," a Trump administration official said when asked whether the White House supported Netanyahu's move."We will release our Vision for Peace after the Israeli election and work to determine the best path forward to bring long sought security, opportunity and stability to the region."White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in early May that he hoped Israel would take a hard look at President Donald Trump's upcoming Middle East peace proposal before "proceeding with any plan" to annex West Bank settlements.In an interview with the New York Times in June, U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that "under certain circumstances" Israel has the "right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank".'PERPETUAL CONFLICT'Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, said on Twitter after Netanyahu's announcement that the Israeli leader was out to impose a "greater Israel on all of historical Palestine and (carry) out an ethnic cleansing agenda"."All bets are off. Dangerous aggression. Perpetual conflict," she wrote.Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Palestinians have called Trump's proposal dead in the water, even before its publication, citing what they see as his pro-Israel policies.Last March, just before Israel's previous election, Trump - in a move widely seen as an attempt to bolster Netanyahu - recognised Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 conflict."It's an election stunt and not a very impressive one because it's so transparent," Yair Lapid, co-leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, said in a statement about Netanyahu's plan.Blue and White, led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, and Likud are running neck and neck in opinion polls.The Jordan Valley, which Palestinians seek for the eastern perimeter of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, stretches from the Dead Sea in the south to the Israeli city of Beit Shean in the north.The 2,400 square km (926.65 square mile) valley accounts for nearly 30 percent of the territory in the West Bank. Israel has long said it intends to maintain military control there under any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Arab League slams Netanyahu for election pledge
Arab foreign ministers on Tuesday condemned Israel’s premier’s statement to annex the Jordan Valley as a “dangerous” development.The new plan by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will undermine the chances for progress in the peace process, Arab League foreign ministers said in a statement after an extraordinary meeting in Cairo to discuss the latest announcement from Israel’s leader.The decision will torpedo all foundations of the peace settlement with the Palestinians, the statement added.Netanyahu said Israel will impose its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and other settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s election.Roughly 70,000 Palestinians, along with 9,500 Jewish settlers, currently live in the Jordan Valley -- a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for 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 want these territories, along with the Gaza Strip, to establish a future Palestinian state.International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.
Saudi Arabia condemns Netanyahu's plan to annex parts of West Bank
Saudi Arabia condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement of his intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank if he wins an upcoming election, describing the measure as "baseless," state news agency SPA reported on early Wednesday, citing the Royal Court.The Kingdom called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation foreign ministers to discuss the move, announced on Tuesday.Saudi Arabia said it considered the declaration a "very dangerous escalation against the Palestinians" and said it "violated international law", adding that it "would undermine any efforts to achieve peace".
Israel strikes Gaza after rocket sirens force Netanyahu off stage
Israeli aircraft struck in Gaza on Wednesday hours after rockets from the Palestinian enclave triggered sirens that forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off the stage at an election rally in Israel.The Israeli military said 15 targets were hit, including a weapons manufacturing facility, a naval compound used by militants and tunnels belonging to Hamas, the dominant armed force in Gaza.There were no immediate reports of casualties.Hours earlier, bodyguards rushed Netanyahu to shelter in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod when the sirens sounded during a Tuesday evening rally, a week ahead of a general election.Netanyahu was unhurt and several minutes later he continued his speech, which was broadcast live on social media by his right-wing Likud party.However, the spectacle of the prime minister being forced off the podium added fuel to accusations by political opponents that he has not done enough to halt the frequent cross-border rocket strikes against southern Israel.The Israeli military said two rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Ashdod and another port city, Ashkelon, just to the south, and were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.It said Wednesday's strikes in Gaza came in response to the rocket launchings.There was no immediately claim of responsibility for Tuesday's rocket attack, which happened shortly after Netanyahu announced a plan to annex part of the occupied West Bank if re-elected in the national ballot on Sept. 17.Israel seized Gaza in a 1967 war and pulled out its settlers and troops in 2005. It maintains a naval blockade of the enclave and along with Egypt imposes tight restrictions at land borders, citing security concerns.Hamas and Israel have fought three wars in the past decade.
Israel claims that 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, saying: "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."
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 want these territories -- along with the Gaza Strip -- 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 as illegal.