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Arab FMs condemn Netanyahu's bid to annex Jordan Valley

Arab FMs condemn Netanyahu's bid to annex Jordan Valley

Cairo, Sept 11: Arab foreign ministers on Tuesday condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for threatening to annex the occupied Jordan Valley if he wins re-election, reports Xinhua. The ministers, who met in Cairo for the Arab League Council's the 152nd session, described Netanyahu's statements as a dangerous development and "a new Israeli offensive" that undermines peace chances. In a statement, the ministers announced they are prepared to take all legal and political actions to counter this unilateral Israeli policy. The Arab ministers warned that the Israeli government should bear responsibility for the consequences of these statements, which they described as "dangerous, illegal and irresponsible." They affirmed their adherence to the principles of the Arab position that supports the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu said he will annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank right after Israel's Sept. 17 election, if he wins re-election. "I intend to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea immediately after the elections," Netanyahu said in a televised speech, surrounded by the ministers from his Likud party. He added that the move will be the "first step" towards a broader annexation of the Palestinian territories of West Bank, which would be made after U.S. President Donald Trump presents the U.S. plan for the Israeli-Palestinian peace, also known as the "Deal of the Century." Such a move would be a major shift from Israel's long-held policy and is expected to trigger strong protests from the Palestinians. Netanyahu is on a re-election campaign and such remarks are meant to please his right-wing electoral base. Before Israel's April elections, Netanyahu vowed to annex the West Bank but did not move to implement it. Israel seized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians wish to establish an independent state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Currently, about 400,000 Jewish settlers live in some heavily guarded communities in the West Bank among some 2.8 million Palestinians.

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