JERUSALEM, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday never to remove Israeli settlement from the West Bank, even in case of a possible deal with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu's remarks were made during a controversial ceremony in the settlement of Kfar Etzion to mark 50 years anniversary of the settlements, which are located on lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
"There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the Land of Israel," he told the audience, which was composed of right-wing settlers as well as cabinet ministers.
"Even when we removed settlements, we received missiles," he added, referring to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the 2005 "Disengagement Plan."
Also at the ceremony, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is also the leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, called on the government to annex the West Bank. "It is time to impose (Israeli) sovereignty upon our good land ... There is no better time for this, it is clear to everyone that we are rightfully here," he said.
Dozens of activists with Peace Now, a human rights group, protested outside the settlement where the ceremony was held. They held signs saying the settlements are ruining Israel and hurting any chance for peace.
Earlier this week, Peace Now launched a campaign against the ceremony and sent letters to all opposition members of the parliament, calling them not to attend the event.
The settlements are located on lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and they are illegal under international law.
The international community and the United States support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the establishment of a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lands.
The international community has repeatedly warned Israel that the settlements are a major hurdle for peace as they are located on lands where the Palestinians wish to build their future state.
In his landmark 2009 Bar Ilan speech at Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv, Netanyahu pledged his support to a two-state solution based on a territorial compromised.
He withdrew his support for Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign in 2015, in a last-minute attempt to draw more votes. He backtracked on this statement after winning the elections.