JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed yesterday to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel if he is re-elected in next week's elections.

"We will join the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, after the formation of the new government, if we win the elections," Netanyahu said at a news conference. "We will annex all the settlements in the West Bank and other strategic areas in the West Bank."

The Jordan Valley makes up about 30% of the West Bank and the eastern border area of ​​the West Bank with Jordan.

Israeli television reported that Netanyahu informed the White House in advance of the decision.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul-Gheit said Arab foreign ministers condemned Netanyahu's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Abul-Gheit told reporters after a one-day meeting of ministers in Cairo: «Netanyahu's statements on the annexation of land from the West Bank in violation of international law and UN resolutions.

Netanyahu's announcement comes as a final step ahead of Tuesday's Israeli election, which public opinion polls in Israel still indicate will not give him the votes needed to form a government.

Earlier yesterday, Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Ashtiyeh warned that Israel could declare annexing parts of the West Bank as part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to win votes in the upcoming elections. "The land of Palestine is not part of Netanyahu's election campaign," Ashtiyeh said in a press statement.

He added: «Netanyahu is the main destructive of the peace process, and any foolishness he commits will reflect itself negatively on him locally and internationally».

The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, announced several months ago that "Israel has the right to annex parts of the West Bank."