Netanyahu to move forward with annexation in July

JERUSALEM, March 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus in Jerusalem on March 14, 2020. Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday the closure of all shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, theaters and cinemas as part of the efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. So far, 193 coronavirus cases have been reported in Israel, of whom four have recovered. (Alex Kolomoisky/JINI /Handout via Xinhua/IANS) by .
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country will not miss “the historic opportunity” to annex a portion of occupied West Bank.

Speaking during a meeting of lawmakers of his right-wing Likud party, Netanyahu on Monday said the annexation is “a top task” for the new unity government he had formed with his former rival Benny Gantz last week, reports Xinhua news agency.

Netanyahu told the lawmakers that “there’s a historic opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948” to impose Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley “in a wise way and as a diplomatic step”.

“We will not let this opportunity pass,” he said.

JERUSALEM, March 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus in Jerusalem on March 14, 2020. Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday the closure of all shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, theaters and cinemas as part of the efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. So far, 193 coronavirus cases have been reported in Israel, of whom four have recovered. (Alex Kolomoisky/JINI /Handout via Xinhua/IANS) by .
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Alex Kolomoisky/JINI /Handout via Xinhua/IANS)

He said he was determined to start cabinet discussions over the plan on July 1.

The Palestinians consider the annexation as illegal and the European Union warned the move will harm chances for peace, with some of its member states calling to impose sanctions on Israel should it continue with the plan.

President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that the Palestinian Authority is no longer committed to any signed agreements with Israel or the US.

On May 7, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that American President Donald Trump’s administration supports Israel’s application of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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Isreal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US President Donald Trump at White House in Washington D.C.

Israel seized the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, in 1967 war and kept controlling it ever since despite international criticism.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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