Jerusalem (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is courting the right-wing electorate for the legislative elections on September 17, reiterated on Sunday his intention to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu and his party, the Likud, are trying to fill up right-wing votes, particularly in the pro-colonial movement and through alliances with small parties, in hopes of getting ahead of their main rival. , former army chief Benny Gantz, at the head of the party "Blue and White".

"With the help of God, we will assert Jewish sovereignty over all communities, under the (biblical) land of Israel, and under the state of Israel," said Mr. Netanyahu during a speech in the Jewish settlement of Elkana, in the occupied West Bank.

While Israel's colonization of the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem has continued under all Israeli governments since 1967, it has accelerated in recent years under the leadership of Mr. Netanyahu and his ally in Washington, DC President Donald Trump.

Today, more than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestinian part of the city occupied by Israel, where three million Palestinians also reside, a proximity that is often a source of conflict. Colonization is considered illegal under international law.

At the very end of the campaign for the April elections, which had not resulted in a unity government from which the new poll in September, Mr. Netanyahu had already promised to annex the settlements.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, called on the international community to take steps to prevent Mr. Netanyahu from acting.

"Those who are worried about every Israeli settlement announcement must now face the reality: the Prime Minister of the occupying power (Israel) announces the annexation of the Occupied Territories," he immediately reacted on Twitter. "Enough impunity: the international community has the responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel after decades of crimes," he added.

© 2019 AFP