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Israel's Netanyahu vows to annex Jordan Valley if re-elected

Menahem Kahana, AFP | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, on September 10, 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected in September 17 polls.

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"There is one place where we can apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections," Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

"If I receive from you, citizens of Israel, a clear mandate to do so ... today I announce my intention to apply with the formation of the next government Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea."

The prime minister also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank if re-elected, though in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote.

Those moves could effectively kill any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of international diplomacy.

The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank and Israeli right-wing politicians have long viewed the strategic area as a part of the territory they would never retreat from.

Israeli settlements are located in what is known as Area C of the West Bank, which accounts for some 60 percent of the territory, including most of the Jordan Valley.

(AFP)

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