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Damascus accuses Israel of expansionism after annexation vow

Local | 2019-09-11 13:17:43
Damascus accuses Israel of expansionism after annexation vow
Damascus on Wednesday condemned a vow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex part of the occupied West Bank if re-elected, accusing him expansionism.

Netanyahu on Tuesday issued a deeply controversial pledge to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley if he wins the Sept. 17 poll.

He also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank if re-elected.

"Syria strongly condemns the prime minister's announcement," a Syrian foreign ministry source told state news agency SANA, warning Israel against a "flagrant violation" of international treaties.

The source said that the planned move is consistent with Israel's "expansionist nature" and its history of "attacking the rights of Palestinians."

He also criticized unnamed Arab states for seeking to normalize ties with Israel, saying they "bear a historical responsibility for its rogue behavior," SANA said.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast War in a move never recognized by the international community.

It also seized – and later annexed – part of the Golan Heights from Syria, and the two countries remain technically at war.

The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank and Israeli right-wing politicians have long viewed the strategic area as a part of the territory they would never retreat from, seeing it as the country's eastern border.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land the Palestinian see as part of their future state.

Netanyahu said his annexation plans would not include Palestinian cities, such as the Jordan Valley's Jericho, though it would be encircled by Israeli territory.

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