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Israeli bill to annex West Bank settlements

Israeli Knesset Member Miri Regev of the Likud Party is planning to thwart peace negotiations with the Palestinians and embarrass Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by submitting a new controversial law, Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said on Wednesday.

Regev who serves as Knesset Interior Committee chairperson will introduce a new draft bill calling to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank and all the roads by applying Israeli law to them. The bill will be discussed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Regev is known for her controversial bills. Last year she submitted a draft bill to annex the Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley and another law that forbids the Israeli prime minister from engaging in diplomatic negotiations on the future of Jerusalem without obtaining the Knesset's approval.

The newspaper said the bill aims to prevent the evacuation of the settlements or placing them under Palestinian sovereignty as part of any future agreement; although Regev said: "the move is not propaganda and does not intend to sabotage the peace process".

She added: "It is important that the Israeli government applies the Israeli law to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and all the main roads leading to them in order to ensure security of the Israelis who live there. It is a proactive step; in case the Palestinians decided to unilaterally declare their state in the territories.

"Over the past few years, the Palestinians have tried to announce a state of their own in the West Bank hoping that some parts of the world would recognise it. In such a case it is appropriate that Israel withdraw its responsibility from the future Palestinian State. On the other hand, we do not betray the settlements which have a Jewish majority."

It is believed that Israel's Prime Minister will thwart the bill by directing the Likud ministers to vote against it.

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