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Israel politicians urge annexation of West Bank settlements

Image of Israeli Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein on 13 September 2013 [Yuri Levin/Wikipedia]
Israeli Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein on 13 September 2013 [Yuri Levin/Wikipedia]

A number of Israeli politicians, including coalition government members, yesterday called for the annexation of settlements in the occupied West Bank in a conference, reported the Jerusalem Post.

According to the paper, “cabinet ministers, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and other MKs” declared that “the time is right for the government to apply sovereignty to West Bank settlements in light of the Trump administration’s attitude toward Israel”.

The gathering, organised by the hard-right Land of Israel caucus, was held “ahead of a ministerial vote on a bill to apply Israeli law to settlements”, legislation proposed by caucus leaders MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home).

“I’m very optimistic,” Edelstein said. “The timing is excellent. No one will do this for us and we have to push it.”

Read: Israel approves $11m for illegal settlements in occupied West Bank

Edelstein cited the speech by US Vice President Mike Pence to the Knesset last month, which the Speaker claimed dealt with “all the places the Jewish people have been connected to since the days of the Bible, including Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank]”.

Kisch said that US President Donald Trump’s election marked a “total change in the White House’s attitude towards Israel”, adding: “The time has come to make practical moves.”

“We are on the cusp of a historic opportunity that may not return. We see the historic American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as the first step.”

#LandGrab

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, meanwhile, “called for Israel to enact its sovereignty on the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound].”

“It looks natural to us that we’re discussing sovereignty, but that was not always so,” Ariel said. “If you’re determined, you will win. Today the discussion is where to apply the law first.”

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