One week before the general election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would annex part of the occupied West Bank if he were re-elected. Netanyahu said he would extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the north of the Dead Sea.
The Jordan Valley runs along the Israeli border with Jordan. According to the Israeli human rights organization Betselem, the region accounts for a total of about 30 percent of the West Bank. In the Jordan Valley live 60,000 Palestinians and about 5,000 Israeli settlers.
The West Bank is largely under Israeli administration, according to the Oslo Peace Accords of 1995. Israel occupies the area since 1967. The Palestinians claim the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem as part of a future state of their own.
Israel's government has repeatedly referred in the past to the strategic importance of the Jordan Valley for its own security. Netanyahu earlier advocated a demilitarized Palestinian state. But even before the general election in April 2019, he had announced that Israeli settlements in the West Bank to join the sovereign territory. However, he had not implemented this project.
"Netanyahu is the central saboteur of the peace process"
Even before Netanyahu's renewed announcement, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Schtajjeh warned against such a move: "The Palestinian territory is not part of Netanyahu's election campaign," he said, according to a statement by his office. Netanyahu should not believe that he could win the elections in the short term by annexing the settlement blocs. "Netanyahu is the central saboteur of the peace process."
On September 17, a new parliament will be elected in Israel.