Netanyahu says Israel will annex parts of West Bank

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to annex parts of the West Bank if he wins re-election next week.

Netanyahu told reporters at a press conference that, if re-elected and able to form a coalition, he would apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

He said he expected US President Donald Trump to present his Middle East peace plan just days after Israelis vote next Tuesday, September 17, and that in co-ordination with the US, he would also look to apply sovereignty over all Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“[The US plan] poses a great challenge for us and a great opportunity, a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank and other areas of importance to our heritage,” Netanyahu said.

The Jordan Valley makes up the eastern half of the West Bank and lies on low ground in the valley created by the Jordan river. Israel has always viewed it as strategically important because of its long border with Jordan to the east.

Most Israeli settlements are not located in the Jordan Valley, but on higher ground to the west of the territory.

The West Bank was captured from Jordan by Israel in the Six Day War in 1967. Most of the international community regards it as occupied territory and all Israeli settlements built on it as illegal, though Israel disputes these characterizations.

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