EU: Netanyahu annexation pledge undermines peace prospects

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The EU warned Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank - if he wins next week’s election - undermines chances for peace in the region.

“The policy of settlement construction and expansion ... is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

Netanyahu issued the controversial pledge on Tuesday.

“There is one place where we can apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

“If I receive from you, citizens of Israel, a clear mandate to do so ... today I announce my intention to apply with the formation of the next government Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea,” he said.

The prime minister also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank if re-elected, though in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote.

Saudi Arabia condemned and rejected the pledge.

“The Kingdom affirms that this declaration is a very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people and represents a flagrant violation of the UN charter and the principles of international law,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the royal court.