Netanyahu's annexation plan to bury chance of Israeli-Palestinian peace: Palestinian official

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-11 01:33:26|Editor: yan
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RAMALLAH, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat warned on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to annex part of the occupied West Bank will bury any chance of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

"If Netanyahu is allowed to implement his plan of annexation, he will succeed in burying any chance of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. The Israeli and the international community must stop such madness," Erekat tweeted.

"We need to end the conflict instead of keeping it for another 100 years. Keep in mind that annexation is a war crime under international law ... We need peace and two states on 1967 borders," he added.

Netanyahu said in a press conference earlier the day that he plans to impose Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley if his party wins re-election scheduled on Sept. 17.

"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.

He added that Israeli sovereignty will also stretch over more settlements in the West Bank after the publication of the U.S. President Donald Trump's plan for the Israeli-Palestinian peace, also known as the "Deal of the Century."

Trump has postponed several times the publication of the peace plan, but Netanyahu said it would be published "soon after the elections, perhaps even days."

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had updated Trump on his statement in advance.

In reaction, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtaye issued a statement, describing Netanyahu a "destroyer of the peace process."

The 2,400-sq-km Jordan Valley, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of the West Bank, is regarded to be strategic both in terms of security and agriculture.

If Israel moves to annex part of the West Bank, it would be a major shift from Israel's long-held policy and is expected to trigger strong protests from the Palestinians.

Netanyahu is on a re-election campaign and such remarks are meant to please his right-wing electoral base.

Before Israel's April elections, Netanyahu vowed to annex the West Bank but did not move to implement it.

Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war and has kept its control ever since.

The Palestinians wish to establish an independent state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Currently, about 400,000 Jewish settlers live in some heavily guarded communities in the West Bank among some 2.8 million Palestinians.