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Monday, 09 December 2019

Arab League, Palestinians condemn Netanyahu's statements on plans to annex West Bank territories

Ending an emergency meeting at the Arab League, Arab foreign ministers vowed to take legal and political action to confront Netanyahu’s latest attempts to annex more occupied Arab land

Haitham Nouri , Wednesday 11 Sep 2019
Arab League Meeting
Arab foreign ministers and delegation members attend the annual Arab League meeting in Cairo, Egypt September 10, 2019. (Reuters)
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Arab League and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's stated intent to annex land from the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced earlier Tuesday that he would annex the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and a number of Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he wins the upcoming Israeli elections. 

President Abbas stressed that all agreements signed with Israel and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes any part of "our occupied land," according to WAFA, the Palestinian news agency

He added: “We have the right to defend our rights and achieve our goals by all available means, regardless of the consequences, as Netanyahu's decisions contradict with United Nations resolutions and international law."

Arab foreign ministers, ending an emergency meeting at the Arab League in Cairo, deemed Netanyahu’s declaration as a new Israeli aggression in flagrant violation of international law, the UN Charter and resolutions of the United Nations, stressing that such statements undermine the foundations of the peace process.

In a statement, Arab foreign ministers said they will follow up these new statements, noting that they would prepare to take all legal and political actions to deal with Israel's unilateral decisions which fuel conflict and violence in the region and the world.

The ministers held Israel responsible for the consequences Netanyahu's statements, expressing adherence to supporting the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The statement urged the international community, in particular the UN Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities by confronting these Israeli violations of international law and UN resolutions.

Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Twitter called Netanyahu’s plan a "serious escalation". 

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, also wrote on Twitter that the Israeli leader was out to impose a "greater Israel on all of historical Palestine and (carry) out an ethnic cleansing agenda".

Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank's Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, said Reuters.

The main Palestinian city is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.

Netanyahu has attracted widespread internation condemnation and criticism for his previous decision to annex Jerusalem, declaring it a unified capital for Israel.

Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the head of the Arab League, condemned Netanyahu's statements.

Abul-Gheit said "the league completely rejects the annexation of the occupied territories in the West Bank, saying such steps destroy any chance of reaching a just peace in the region."

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