In case of victory at the polls, the Israeli prime minister intends to annex part of the occupied territories of the West Bank. For Arab ministers it is a "dangerous development" and a "new aggression by Israel" that preclude any attempt at peace. Riyadh calls for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic cooperation.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The foreign ministers of the Arab nations condemn outgoing Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan announced yesterday to annex part of the occupied territories of the West Bank, should he be re-elected.
The leaders of the Arab League speak of "aggression" that will eventually weaken any attempt and any possibility of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
In a speech given in the context of the election campaign, Netanyahu affirmed his intention to annex the Jordan Valley if he emerged victorious at the polls.
Israel conquered part of the territories of the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967. For the Palestinians, who signed an interim peace agreement in 1990, these lands are an integral part of a future state and must be returned.
Commenting on Netanyahu's words, the Arab League's foreign ministers talk of "dangerous development" and "new aggression by Israel" that clearly states its intention to "violate international law".
“The league regards these statements as undermining the chances of any progress in the peace process and will torpedo all its foundations,” a statement said.
Foreign ministers were already engaged in a meeting scheduled for some time in the Egyptian capital. However, after hearing the words of the Israeli Prime Minister they decided to hold an extraordinary emergency session.
According to the latest figures released by the Israeli B'Tselem, which fights against occupation, about 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and the upper part of the Dead Sea. The most important city is Jericho, surrounded by 28 villages and several smaller Bedouin communities.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks of "serious escalation" by Netanyahu. Amman and Cairo are the only two Arab nations to have signed peace treaties with Israel. Hanan Ashrawi, senior PLO official (Palestine Liberation Organization), wrote on Twitter that the Israeli leader intends to extend Israel's rule over what was once historic Palestine and to promote "an ethnic cleansing program ".
In the middle of an electoral campaign to try to regain a solid majority in the Knesset, after the April vote ended with a stalemate and the impossibility of forming the new government, Netanyahu relaunched the intention to annex all the settlements.
A condemnation to the Prime Minister's words also came from Saudi Arabia, which is calling for an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while Qatar is relaunching support for the peace plan that provides for the creation of two different states next to each other.