Netanyahu vows to annex large parts of occupied West Bank

Mr Netanyahu's proposal would fundamentally redraw Israel's borders

World leaders are denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call to annex large parts of the West Bank in the event he wins the upcoming election.

A few days before the April legislative elections, which failed to produce a government, Netanyahu had already promised to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett has more from West Jerusalem.

Palestinian chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat called the planned move a war crime under worldwide law governing occupied territory.

The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea constitute nearly 30 percent of the West Bank.

"Israel's unprecedented culture of impunity, enabled by worldwide inaction, is the only explanation for Mr. Netanyahu's audacity in using annexation as an election ploy", he said, calling on the global community to block the Israeli leader's plan.

This plan would allow Israel to "apply our sovereignty over our settlements in Judea and Samaria and other places key to our security, our heritage and our future", Netanyahu said in front of Israeli flags, using the Israeli name for the areas encompassing the West Bank.

Ahead of the announcement, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh cautioned against such a move, saying that "the Palestinian territory is not part of Netanyahu's election campaign".

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But Netanyahu also announced plans to coordinate with President Donald Trump to annex all Israel settlements in the West Bank, if reelected.

"The residents of the Jordan Valley do not feature in Netanyahu's propaganda", Gantz said in a statement.

"If I am elected I commit to annex the Jordan Valley". Many moderate Israelis believe Israel should retain some element of control in the area under a peace deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said all agreements with Israel will be cancelled if Netanyahu presses forward with his plan.

Netanyahu said he hopes to carry out the annexation "in maximum coordination with [U.S. President Donald] Trump".

In January, ahead of the most recent April election, Netanyahu also called a "dramatic announcement" in which he discussed investigations into multiple corruption cases that he and his wife are now entangled in. Ehud Barak, a former prime minister who is campaigning to oust Netanyahu, said the prime minister "has no public or moral mandate to determine things so fateful to the state of Israel".

"There is no change in United States policy at this time", a Trump administration official said when asked whether the White House supported Netanyahu's move.

Palestinian officials were outraged by the Israeli Prime Minister's speech.

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