The Arab League (AL) yesterday called for “a decisive international response” to the recent statements made by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on annexing the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
The league’s Assistant Secretary-General for the Occupied Palestinian and Arab Lands, Saeed Abu Ali, said that that Netanyahu’s remarks would lead “dangerous repercussions,” adding that that the international response must be “derived from international law”.
“The Israeli occupation has always aimed for continuing the construction of new illegal neighbourhoods and settlement units in East Jerusalem,” Abu Ali explained, pointing out that Israel hoped to house “more than one million settlers in the West Bank alone.”
Abu Ali urged the international community to “immediately announce its stance” on the Israeli remarks.
He also demanded the International Criminal Court open an “immediate official investigation” into what he described as “the ongoing settlement crimes in the Palestinian territories.”
“Netanyahu is using the settlement file as a card to guarantee the Israeli right-wing’s loyalty in his election campaign,” the Arab official noted.
On Saturday, Netanyahu told the Israeli Channel 12 that he would annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he “wins another term in office”, a move that had enraged the Arab and international governments.
Later on the day, the chief Palestinian negotiator and a close aide to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat, said Israel would “continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward it with impunity.”
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Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, urged the Palestinian Authority to halt its security cooperation with Israel in the occupied West Bank, stressing that “Netanyahu’s dreams of annexing the West Bank” would never be achieved.
In addition, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described Netanyahu as “irresponsible”.
There are some 650,000 Jewish settlers currently living on more than 100 settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlements illegal.
Israelis head to the polls today in a general election which is expected to see Netanyahu gain another term in office.