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PLO official says Israel will pay heavy price for annexation plans

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), addresses the media following a meeting with Diplomats from contributing nations to the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 30 January 2019. [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 30 January 2019 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]

Secretary-General of PLO's Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat said that Israel will pay a "heavy price" for its plans to annex large areas of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Speaking to the PLO's news site, Erekat commented on the Arab countries' position regarding the Israeli plans, saying: "The Arabs met at the level of foreign ministers, held summits and considered the Israeli annexation plans a 'war crime'."

He added that King Abdullah II of Jordan recently issued a statement warning that the annexation will open "a massive conflict".

"We are not asking people to endure more than they can afford. There is a national project, and there is the PLO; the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people which negotiates on behalf of the Palestinian people," Erekat said, adding that the Palestinians cannot prevent any state; Arab or foreign from normalising relations with Israel, however he asked the Arab leaders wishing to side with Israel to publicly announce their positions before their own people.

He added that Russia has been very supportive of the Palestinian leadership regarding the Israeli plans, noting that President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have written letters to President Mahmoud Abbas.

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