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Senior Israeli politicians visiting Hebron urge annexation of West Bank

Senior Israeli politicians in the ruling coalition government called for the annexation of the Occupied West Bank, during a Passover event in Hebron on Monday.

According to reports, "tens of thousands" of Israelis, including lawmakers and rabbis, visited Hebron on the third day of the Passover festival.

Those in attendance included Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara, and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau.

During speeches, deputy minister and Jewish Home parliamentarian Ben-Dahan declared: "We have to impose Israeli law in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]." He added: "We have returned to our land, so that we will never again have to leave it."

Hebron lies inside the West Bank, under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Over the last 49 years, more than 200 settlements have been established across the territory, in contravention of international law.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked described the issue of the Hebron settlers not as one of "real estate", but "rather an ideological act driven by love for the Jewish people and their land."

Likud MK Oren Hazan, meanwhile, reportedly urged Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu to expand the settler population in Hebron. "The time has come to populate Hebron," he told the crowds, "just as the time has come to populate every hilltop in Judea and Samaria and in all of Israel."

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