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  • Labourers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 7, 2019.

    Labourers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 September 2019

"This is our land, we will build another Elkana and another Elkana and another Elkana;" Netanyahu told Jewish settlers. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday his pledge to annex all the Jewish settlements in Palestine’s occupied West Bank.

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“With the help of God we will apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, as part of the land of Israel, and as part of the state of Israel,” he said in front of an audience at the West Bank settlement of Elkana.

"This is our land, we will build another Elkana and another Elkana and another Elkana. We will not uproot anyone here," he added.

The Israeli leader had made the same type of promises before the country’s last elections in April. Following that, he was not able to form a viable governing coalition, and the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, called for new elections, to be held on Sept. 17.

Netanyahu’s reaffirmation that his country will annex all the settlements,  comes as part of his campaign trail following other recent events in the region that saw Israel pushing for rising tensions with Hezbollah and Iran, as well as Gaza’s fuel cuts.

According to the polls, the PM is running in a very close race with his main rival Benny Gantz from the centrist Blue and White party.

In addition to that, his far-right Likud party needs to come out with a decisive lead in the ballot or Rivlin might decide to appoint another candidate to form a ruling coalition. It is in this context that he is seeking to draw support from the voters of the right-wing parties close to the influential settlement movement.

Yet the Israeli PM facing allegations of corruption including fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, is determined to cling to his privileged position for the longest time possible.

Settlements are one of the most sensible issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Palestinians have expressed their fears that the Israeli PM, with the backing of his close ally, the United States President Donald Trump, will indeed go against international law and annex the settlements.

With the issuing of the U.S. plan for peace still up-in-the-air, Trump’s administration has already recognized the annexation by Israel of the Golan Heights, an area it seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war,  Israel also occupied the West Bank during the six-days war.

Israeli settlements are seen as one of the main stumbling blocks to the peace process because they are located in territories Palestinians consider their future state and because their pursuing could represent the death of the two states solution to the conflict.

Palestinians along with several countries consider settling to be illegal under international law as the Geneva conventions prohibit settlements on land that has been captured in war, but Israel argues international consensus invoking security necessities, biblical, historical and political connections to the land.

"Those who claim concern after every Israeli settlement announcement should face reality: Israel's PM is announcing further annexation of occupied territory," Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, wrote on Twitter, calling on the international community to take action after Netanyahu’ statements.

"Enough impunity: There’s an international responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel after decades of systematic crimes."

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem East over which Israel has imposed full sovereignty.

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