Back-stepping on previous statements in an obvious move to attract right-wing voters, Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz now echoes PM Netanyahu’s calls to annex the Jordan Valley.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed a vow to annex Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria as the embattled leader kicked off a third election campaign in under a year on Tuesday.
Addressing Likud Party supporters at a campaign launch event in Jerusalem, Netanyahu promised to “impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea,” then pledged to annex all Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria “without exception.”
The prime minister also vowed to expel all illegal immigrants out of the country.
“We blocked the entry of a million infiltrators,” he told the audience. “A third of those who came in we’ve already taken them out of the country and we’ll get the other two thirds out of the country as well.”
Israel’s longest-serving prime minister focused heavily on economic issues in his public delivery. “We’ve brought Israel to the best decade in its history,” he said.
Meanwhile, Blue and White Party Chairman Benny Gantz said on Tuesday that his party will also work to annex the Jordan Valley after the March general election, a potential significant move geared to wooing right-wing voters.
“We again establish that the Jordan Valley is the eastern defense shield of Israel, no matter what happens in the future,” he said in his announcement held in the Jordan Valley, where he was joined by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. “After the election, we will take steps to annex the Jordan Valley, and until then, we will support the development of the area.”
Ya’alon, who now is number three in Blue and White, told Jewish News Syndicate that “the Jordan Valley is the eastern border of the State of Israel forever,” and that this has always been Blue and White’s platform and belief.
UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo reiterated at a UN Security Council meeting Tuesday that “all settlements are illegal under international law and remain an obstacle to peace” and warned against annexation.
“The annexation of some or all of Area C, if implemented, would deal a devastating blow to the potential of reviving negotiations, advancing regional peace, and the essence of the two-state solution,” DiCarlo warned.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, told the council that “neither threats nor attempts at annexation should go unchallenged.”
“The urgency of stopping Israeli annexation schemes cannot be underestimated; immediate action is needed before it is too late,” he said, stressing that the UN Charter’s prohibition on acquiring territory by force must be upheld along with Security Council resolutions reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlements.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ office said in a statement that the calls to annex areas of Judea and Samaria “undermine the foundations of the peace process” and regional stability.
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