Netanyahu repeats pledge to annex Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he intends to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, but again gave no timeframe in repeating an election promise he made five months ago.

“With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the Land of Israel, as part of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana, where he attended a ceremony opening the school year.

Netanyahu had pledged in July not to dismantle even the remotest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Israeli elections will be held on September 17. If Netanyahu is successful in the elections, he will try to form a coalition again.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace since they are located on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The settlers are a major plank of support for Netanyahu’s right-wing government and his bid for re-election.

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