Israeli flag flutters over settlement of Ofra 311 R.
(photo credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)
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
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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
“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
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.
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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.
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
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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