Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has said that Israel will not be removing any illegal Jewish settlements from the occupied West Bank and will maintain them in the long term, Foreign Policy reported yesterday.
Speaking to the news site, he addressed several issues related to Iran, the region and Palestine, saying: "We need two political entities here."
Gantz met with the Palestinian Authority (PA) President two weeks ago and discussed several issues, including stability in the occupied West Bank and security cooperation.
"Abbas is still dreaming of the 1967 lines [as the basis for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and an end to the conflict] – this won't happen," Foreign Policy reported Gantz saying.
He stressed: "He [Abbas] has to realise we're staying there [in the occupied West Bank]. … We're not taking down settlements."
In spite of the criticism he came under after the meeting, Gantz said maintaining ties to Abbas and his authority is "a value of the highest importance."
Around half a million Jewish settlers live in more than 250 illegal settlements and outposts built on occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. All are in contravention of international law.
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