Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex the occupied West Bank if he wins the general election slated for April 9.
“We will ensure that we are in charge on the ground. And we will impose sovereignty over the settlements in Judea and Samaria [West Bank],” he said in an interview with Israeli television late Saturday.
Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party, said his next government will not separate between large Israeli settlement blocs and small outposts in the West Bank.
“Not even a single settlement will be evacuated and the Jordan valley area will remain in our hands,” he stressed.
The Israeli premier said that the creation of a Palestinian state would endanger Israel’s existence.
“We are governing from a security point of view over the entire area,” he said. “I will not hand over any settlement to the Palestinian sovereignty and I will not divide Jerusalem.”
Roughly 650,000 Jewish settlers currently live on more than 100 settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there as illegal.
The Palestinians, for their part, want both these territories — along with the Gaza Strip — for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.