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Israel's Netanyahu has not abandoned West Bank annexation

Israelis gather to stage a demonstration to protest against Israel's annexation plan for the illegal settlements in West Bank and Jordan Valley, in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 6, 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]
Demonstration to protest against Israel's annexation plan for the illegal settlements in West Bank and Jordan Valley, in Tel Aviv on 6 June 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he has not abandoned plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, Netanyahu said: "For three years, I worked toward sovereignty. I inserted it into President Trump's peace plan."

"According to the American plan, Israel will receive 30% of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] – 10 times more than any other plan – without uprooting communities [illegal settlements] and retaining territory vital to Israel's security."

Netanyahu reiterated that the American plan "hasn't changed. I made it happen."

He added: "It's true that immediately after the announcement of the Trump plan I wanted to present it to the government and they [Americans] wanted me to wait, and again asked me to wait to allow them to focus on the peace agreement with the UAE, and possibly with other countries as well."

READ: The Gulf's recognition of Israel opens new doors, but will kill the dream of an Arab Jerusalem

"The insistence on sovereignty and including it in the president's official plan is a huge alteration. It changed the cards."

The Israeli PM insisted that he will never uproot any illegal settlement from the occupied Palestinian West Bank and insisted that there is not return to the 1967 borders.

The idea that we will return to the 1967 borders, uproot communities – these things, for all intents and purposes, are no longer on the table

he said.

"Just as I worked to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem, just as I said I'd work to secure recognition of Jerusalem [as Israel's capital] – and it happened."

"I spoke about recognition of our sovereignty on the Golan Heights – and it happened. And there are more examples. It takes time."

Israeli minister: Annexation was already frozen before UAE deal

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv's planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic of other ties with the occupation state.

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