Palestinian president condemns Netanyahu’s pledge to annex West Bank territory

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday reiterated his condemnation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements located in occupied Palestinian territory.

“If any Israeli government is to proceed with this plan, all signed agreements…and any obligations therein will be terminated,” said Abbas in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

Abbas said that the international law has been severely endangered as a result of the policies and practices of Israel in the West Bank, mentioning that specifically in Jerusalem, Israel is waging a war on anything there that is Palestinian.

“From the confiscation and demolition of homes, to assaults on clergymen, to the eviction of our citizens from their homes, to attempts to violate the sanctity of the holy al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” said Abbas.

Abbas said the state of Israel is restricting the freedom of Palestinians to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem, referring to the permit system that requires Palestinians living in the West Bank to request permission from the Israeli government to visit Jerusalem.

Abbas affirmed his support for the two-state solution and said the Trump administration has “jeopardized” the two-state solution with its policies including the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017.

“Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine,” said Abbas.

The UN position is that Jerusalem should be placed under a special international regime.

Abbas expressed his gratitude to the UN for granting the West Bank “non-member observer state status” in 2012 and called on the intergovernmental organization to now grant it full member status.

“Give me one reason why we do not deserve to be a full member of the United Nations,” Abbas said.

Abbas’ speech comes more than seventy years after the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the territory of Palestine into a state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the West Bank was captured by Jordan. Israel then occupied the West Bank in 1967, a move never recognized by the international community.

Under a series of agreements known as the Oslo Accords, signed between 1994 and 1999, Israel transferred to the newly created Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip.

Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have since stalled.

Roughly 60 percent of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remains under Israeli military control.

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