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'Annexation for declaration' idea advancing in Knesset
By GIL HOFFMAN
04/26/2011
MK Danon preparing bills to annex West Bank, repeal Oslo Accords; move intended to convince EU to stop UN vote on Palestinian statehood.
 
Ideas about annexing parts of the West Bank that until recently were considered extreme have been gaining traction in the Knesset in recent weeks as the Palestinian Authority continues threatening to declare a state unilaterally in September.

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau raised the idea at Israel Beiteinu’s convention in Jerusalem two weeks ago and then spoke about it at length in an interview with The Jerusalem Post’s web site last week.

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“We’ll have to protect ourselves,” he said. “If [the Palestinians declare a state], I’m going to suggest to my government to extend our sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the highly populated blocs we have in Judea and Samaria, just to start with.”

The idea has already attracted the attention of the international media, including CNN, which approached Landau to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

Landau and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein will be featured speakers at a rally in favor of annexing Judea and Samaria at the Knesset next month. Top right-wing academics and former foreign minister Moshe Arens are also expected to speak at the event, which is being organized by Likud MK Danny Danon.

“A Palestinian declaration of statehood would officially bury the Oslo Accords, which state that final borders will be decided via negotiations and that unilateral actions constitute violation of the accords,” Danon said. “The Palestinians declaring a state would free us of all the diplomatic, security, and economic commitments we made in the Oslo Accords.”

Danon favors responding to a Palestinian declaration of statehood by annexing all of Area C, which includes all the West Bank’s Jewish settlements and empty land. He said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should follow the example of his predecessors Levi Eshkol, who annexed eastern Jerusalem, and Menachem Begin, who annexed the Golan Heights.

A source close to the prime minister said that Netanyahu has kept his cards close to his chest as to how he would respond to Palestinian unilateral action, but that he has said in the past that Israel has its own unilateral options.

Danon said he hoped the threat of annexation could help Netanyahu persuade European leaders to stop the United Nations from voting on Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly in September.

Danon is working on two bills: One in favor of annexing the West Bank and another that would repeal the Oslo Accords.

He said he believed that if annexation would be brought to a vote in the Likud it would pass.

Habayit Hayehudi leader Daniel Herschkowitz said he backed the initiative. An Israel Beiteinu spokesman said that beyond Landau, his faction is undecided, but it is possible that it would back the initiative as well.
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