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Netanyahu says he sought to annex the Jordan Valley before the election, but Israeli AG stopped running: report



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he planned to immediately declare sovereignty over the Jordan Valley on Wednesday, but the Attorney General of Israel told him he did not have the authority to do so until he was re-elected and could form a new government.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu promised to begin annexing the West Bank's Jordan Valley region if he wins next week's national elections. The announcement provoked denunciation by world leaders.

Following the announcement, a United Nations spokesman stated that the organization maintained that any move by Israel to control Palestinian territory "would be detrimental to the potential for resumption of negotiations, regional peace and the very substance of a two-state solution. "

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Netanyahu presented this move as a historic "one-off opportunity" to conveniently reshape Israel's borders. The Jordan Valley represents about a quarter of the West Bank, the center of any future Palestinian state.

  Israel's Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a map of the Jordan Valley during his announcement Tuesday in Ramat Gan, Israel Netanyahu has promised to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected after the Israel election. September 17. (Getty Images)

Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a map of the Jordan Valley during his message Tuesday in Ramat Gan, Israel. Netanyahu has promised to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected after the September 17th elections in Israel. (Getty Image)

The report by the head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council praises Netanyahu for his election campaign promise, some critics say Netanyahu could annex the territory immediately through the cabinet without waiting for an election, according to The Times of Israel. [19659003] On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he tried to annex the territory last week, but was deposed by Attorney General Auschwand Mandelbitt, the newspaper reported.

"I want to act on this immediately," Netanyahu said in a Hebrew video posted on Facebook. "So I already wanted to bring him to the Knesset [The Israeli Parliament] last week, [but] the attorney general told me, 'You can't, because this is a transitional government. "

Netanyahu said on Tuesday that if re-elected, he would also focus on annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but added that he was awaiting the release of the Trump administration's Middle Peace Plan.

The White House said the plan was finalized but would not be published until after the Israel election. The plan is already facing rejection by Palestinian officials who are opposed to strengthening ties between the US and Israel.

'The Sovereignty Implementation Plan is not something we have been thinking about until recently. It has been planned for months, "a high-profile message from an Israeli government official told The Times of Israel. "But there were legal issues with doing anything before the election. The Advocate General stated that this could not be done now because of legal restrictions. "

In a formal announcement, an official added that US officials were" fully informed. "Arab condemnation and injection of Palestinians into a political campaign that almost completely ignores them.

In response to Netanyahu's declaration, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi wrote on Twitter:" Killing all chances of peace for electoral purposes is irresponsible, dangerous. "

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The Jordan Valley represents the east end of the West Bank, Israel. Beach and East Jerusalem, during the 1967 war. Since then, it has created about 30 settlements in the Jordan Valley, which, according to the Israeli rights group B & # 39; Tselem, are now home to about 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 settlers. all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal.

The Jordan Valley is considered a key asset for Israel's security as it provides a buffer zone against potential attacks from the east and provides a defense line along the country's long border with Jordan. who signed a peace treaty with Israel 25 years ago.

Prior to Netanyahu's talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia also warned that the prime minister's promise to extend Israel's sovereignty to the Jordan Valley could escalate tensions.

According to The Times of Israel, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the implementation could lead to "a sharp escalation of tensions in the region [and] undermining hopes of establishing a long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors."

Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to Sochi on Thursday to meet with Putin, where leaders will reportedly discuss regional issues. Netanyahu also met with Putin in Moscow days before the April 9 election, saying it was a way to win votes from a large community of Russian speakers in Israel.

Click here to get FOX NEWS application Netanyahu failed to form a government within the set deadline, and instead of allowing another MP to try to form a government, he urged a vote to dissolve the Israeli parliament and called for new elections.

Bradford Bets, Alex Papas and Associated Press from Fox News contributed to this report.


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