Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday renewed his promise to annex all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, more than two weeks before the general elections which are to be held this September.
However, Netanyahu has not set a time frame for the electoral pledge that he previously made five months ago.
Netanyahu’s remarks came during a ceremony of the new school year in the West Bank settlement of Elkana. “With God’s will, we will extend Jewish sovereignty on all Israeli settlements as part of Israel lands, as part of Israel state,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu made a similar promise days before the Israeli general elections held in April, but after the polls ended, he failed in forming a parliamentary majority to lead Israel. Therefore, the elections will be held again on 17 September.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah denounced Netanyahu’s remarks, rejecting the settlement’s policies, attempts of normalisation, and the erosion of the two-state solution.
In earlier statements, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said that Israeli’s Prime Minister is ready to pay all required prices just to win the elections.
Netanyahu’s promise is expected to gain support from the United States President Donald Trump, who officially recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights in March this year.
More than 628,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to Human Rights Watch. In 2017, Israel agreed on plans to establish 10,536 housing units in its settlements in the West Bank, compared to 4,611 units between 2015-2016, according to the Peace Now non-governmental Israeli organisation.