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Netanyahu Vows to Annex Jewish West Bank Settlements in Last-Minute Election Post

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Photo, AP

MA’ALE ADUMIM, Israel – Palestinian leaders condemned while others applauded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would declare sovereignty over Israeli communities in the West Bank if he’s elected Israel’s next prime minister. 

Netanyahu made the historic announcement just days before Israelis go to the polls to choose their next government. 

"I will give sovereignty, but I don't differentiate between the settlement blocs and the isolated settlements, because from my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians … if we learnt anything, it is that when we abandon territories, Islamic extremism emerges immediately and slaughters us, and I won't give them the heart of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s announcement means that large Jewish communities like Ma’ale Adumim and smaller ones in what is called the West Bank would be part of Israel in any future negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. 

Palestinian leaders warned it would destroy the peace process.      

"This is, at the end of the day, this is the scenario, and this is where they think they can dictate a solution by destroying the concept of two states,” said Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.

While Erekat said the international criminal court should address the matter, some Israelis rejoiced.  

“Great, to annex it. It belongs to the State of Israel. 42,000 people live here. We will not give up on this place. This will not be like Gaza, what was given back and now rockets fired at them, on Sderot, no. I am in favor of annexing it for the State of Israel,” said Ma’ale Adumin resident Israel Yehezkel.

Others doubted the move.

"There's nothing to be happy about, I don't believe Netanyahu or our mayor,” explained resident Pnina Levy.

The last-minute campaign push will likely win Netanyahu support among the right but whether he wins on Tuesday’s will be up to the rest of Israeli voters. 

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