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Israel to annex parts of the West Bank in response to unity government

The Israeli security cabinet considered annexing parts of the occupied West Bank in response to the swearing in of members of the Palestinian unity government, Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported today.

The proposal was presented by the Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. The newspaper reported an official source saying the first of the areas would be the settlement of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem.

According to a statement following the meeting held yesterday, the security cabinet issued five decisions, including the creation of a team to study future options.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the newspaper reported, had pledged to block any efforts aimed at annexing occupied territories to Israel.

However, Bennett said: “The sovereignty program that I proposed is the only available option today [for dealing with] the Palestinian rejection of peace [with Israel] and the [Israeli] Left’s refusal to accept this solution.”

The Israeli government imposed several punishments on the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the announcement of the new government. The punishments included reducing the number of VIPs thus limiting their freedom of movement and increasing the amount of money deducted from PA taxes collected by Israel.

It also affirmed that it prevented Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to travel to Ramallah to take the oath before the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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