Israel recognized an informal settlement in the occupied West Bank two days before a general election, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his pledge to annex the occupied Palestinian Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea to Israel after the election.
Netanyahu's office said that during its weekly session in the Jordan Valley, the government agreed to "transform the informal settlement of Mivot Jericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement."
All settlements are illegal under international law, but Israel makes a distinction between those it has agreed to and those that have not.
Netanyahu renewed his pledge to annex the Palestinian areas of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea to Israel immediately after the formation of his next government.
He added in a statement opened by the weekly meeting of his outgoing government held in a settlement in the Jordan Valley; that the cornerstone of his policy is to start annexing settlements in the West Bank, and areas where there are no settlements, as he put it.
Regarding his plan to annex the Jordan Valley and north of the Dead Sea to Israel, Netanyahu said: "I have pledged to do so in the previous days, and I am proud to establish this settlement today.
He said he would embark on a decision to annex the Jordan Valley after the election, and would wait for US President Donald Trump to announce his Middle East peace plan, known as the "deal of the century," before embarking on settlements.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday strongly criticized Netanyahu's comments and said his intention to annex land from the occupied West Bank was a "despicable attempt to win a few more votes in the elections."
"Israel draws boldness from the support of some countries and continues its aggressive policies which are becoming a system of racial discrimination," said Gavishoglu, during his participation in the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the western city of Jeddah.
Against the Arabs
Netanyahu continued his campaign of incitement against Arab voters, accusing them of rigging previous elections in April.
He asked his ministers, particularly the ministers of internal security and the judiciary, to not investigate the ballot boxes in the Arab sector within the Green Line in those elections.
The latest opinion poll conducted before the end of the legal period that allows polls before the election day in Israel; Netanyahu - leader of the Likud party - will be the winner and the most likely to form a new Israeli government.
According to the poll of 3,193 Israelis, Netanyahu's chance to form a right-wing and religious government under his leadership with a coalition base of at least 61 Knesset members has become strong.
The results indicated that Likud would get 33 seats, and that his rival "Blue White" will get 32, while the joint list of Arab parties will get 11 seats, and "Yisrael Beiteinu" led by Avigdor Lieberman on nine.
The results predicted eight seats for the ultra-Orthodox Yehudet Hatourat party, and seven for both the ultra-Orthodox Shas and the extreme right.
The poll also predicted that the leftist Democratic camp would win five seats, the Labor coalition four, and four seats similar to the party "Outsamat Israel", both on the edge of the discount rate.