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Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of West Bank triggers condemnations



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank has triggered condemnation.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu pledged to annex the Jordan Valley if he wins next week’s elections.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War, and hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis are now living in the territory, which is claimed by Palestinians for their future state.

Several Arab countries and groupings have decried Netanyahu’s plan.

Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the plan, describing it as a dangerous escalation.

“Saudi Arabia declares its condemnation and denunciation of the Israeli prime minister’s intention to annex lands from the West Bank occupied in 1967 and considers this measure as totally null,” the Saudi royal court said in a statement carried by the official news agency SPA on Wednesday.

The kingdom stressed that the move was a “dangerous escalation against the right of the Palestinian people and a violation of the charter of the UN and international law.”

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-member bloc, on Wednesday said it would hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to discuss what it called “dangerous Israeli escalation.”

The OIC meeting would be held at the level of the grouping’s foreign ministers at its premises in the Saudi city of Jeddah, SPA reported.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a Saudi-led bloc of six countries, also denounced the Israeli plan as a “provocation and aggression”.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S.-allied grouping said that Netnayhu’s statement on the Jordan Valley annexation contradicts international law and the UN charter, Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya reported.

The EU meanwhile said it “will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders,” a spokesman for the bloc said in Brussels in response to Netanyahu’s announcement.

“Actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the spokesman added.

On Tuesday, following a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, the Arab League said in a statement that Netanyahu’s announcement undermines any prospects to achieve peace.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also condemned the announcement as a dangerous escalation that undermines the foundations of peace and pushes the whole region towards violence and conflict.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries having diplomatic ties with Israel.

Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he would apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley if he is re-elected.

(Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim)

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