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UN chief denounces Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of West Bank

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday expressed his concern about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign vow to occupy parts of the West Bank.

“The Secretary-General is concerned by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement declaring his intention, if elected, to annex the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea as a first step to applying Israeli sovereignty over all settlements and other areas in the occupied West Bank,” the spokesman for the Secretary-General said in a statement.

The UN chief views such actions as “a serious violation of international law.”

“They would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations and regional peace, while severely undermining the viability of the two-State solution,” the statement says.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said in a televised address that in case he was reelected he would apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan valley and the northern part of the Dead Sea. Resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council passed in December 2016 urges Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli government refused to implement the resolution. For half a century after the Jewish state captured the West Bank, Israel has constructed about 120 settlements there, which the UN says are among the main obstacles towards the peace talks with Palestinians to be revived.

On Wednesday, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said that if Israel annexed part of the West Bank, any chance of peace with Palestinians would be destroyed. Earlier, the Arab League condemned Netanyahu’s move. The Islamic Cooperation Organization followed suit and called for an emergency ministerial meeting to be convened on September 15 at Saudi Arabia’s request to discuss “Israeli escalation.”.

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