Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he plans to apply his nation's sovereignty to the West Bank's Hebron settlements, if re-elected on Tuesday's election.
He told the Israeli Army radio on Monday that he planned to annex "all settlements" on the West Bank, including Hebron and Kiryat Arba, which are on the outskirts of Hebron, according to Israeli media.
During the interview, he also vowed to apply Israel's sovereignty to "vital areas" outside the settlement blocks, but did not elaborate, reports The Times of Israel. He reports that the annexations are happening in stages coordinated with the Trump administration.
"I made them [the Trump administration] recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then move the embassy there, and then recognize our sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the Israeli newspaper reported.
"And now, after tremendous diplomatic efforts, I lay the foundations for the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as our eastern defense wall and then over all settlements and other vital areas, inside the blocks [settlement] and outside the blocks. And all this, I want to do with President Trump. "
Locked in a difficult race and with the legal woes looming over him, Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival, made this announcement in a last-ditch effort to attract nationalist support on the day before the primaries. Many right-wing voters live in settlements in occupied Israel's West Bank.
"I intend to extend sovereignty to all settlements and blocks [settlement]," including "sites that have security implications or are important to the heritage of Israel," Netanyahu says in an interview with Army Radio.
When asked if this included the hundreds of Jews living in heavy military security among tens of thousands of Palestinians in Hebron, Netanyahu replied, "Of course."
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The international spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron Ishihai Fleisher stated that Hebron is the second most historic and holy city for Jews after Jerusalem.
In Responding to Netanyahu's promise to enforce Israeli sovereignty in Hebron, Fleisher told Fox News: "There is a big difference between political promises and political policies and actions.
He added:" The Hebron Jewish community welcomes these statements. and looks forward to urging them to become political reality and political politics. "
Hebron is home to a sacred site for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as biblical patriarchs and matriarchs are buried in the city. Hebron is a common outbreak between Jewish people and Palestinians who live there. More than 200,000 Palestinians live in Hebron, along with about 800 Jews living on a street protected by the Israeli military, Kiri Arba, Hebron's "sister city", is home to about 9,000 Jews, according to Fleisher.
In recent weeks, Netanyahu's campaign is making solid promises with the obvious aim of winning
After Netanyahu failed to form a coalition after the April vote that caused the Israeli parliament to dissolve, the Israelis will head to the polls for the second election this year.
Last week Netanyahu pledged to begin annexation The West Bank's Jordan Valley region, which represents about a quarter of the area and is at the center of any future Palestinian state, should it win national elections. The pledge sparked a revelation from world leaders.
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Following the announcement by the United Nations, the potential for resumption of negotiations, regional peace and the very essence of a two-state solution. "
The last moment of Netanyahu's promise also provoked Arab condemnation. On Monday, the Palestinian Authority held a cabinet meeting in Fasail, a West Bank settlement near the border with Jordan, to protest Netanyahu's message
"The Jordan Valley is part of the Palestinian lands and any settlement or annexation is illegal," Prime Minister Mohammed Steiye said at the start of the meeting. "We will judge Israel in the international courts for the exploitation of our land and continue our fight against land occupation and in international fora."
Netanyahu's political rivals dismissed his talks on annexation as an electoral statement, stating that he has not yet has annexed any territory during more than 10 years of its term of office.
Prior to the April elections, Netanyahu made a similar promise to apply Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank if re-elected. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he tried to annex the territory but was deposed by Attorney General Abihai Mandelblit.
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Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem of Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967. More than 2.5 million Palestinians live in occupied territories , in addition to nearly 700,000 Jews. Palestinians and the international community consider the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal. Israel has already annexed East Jerusalem in a move that is not internationally recognized.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.