Israel has begun drawing up maps of land in the occupied West Bank that will be annexed in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, says the country’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Netanyahu said the area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley – territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war but which Palestinians want in a future state.
“The only map that can be accepted as the map of Palestine is the map of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Prospects for annexations, which have already been widely condemned, are unclear.
Israel will hold a national election on March 2 and Netanyahu, who is facing criminal corruption charges, is hoping to win a fifth term in office. He presently heads a caretaker government, whose legal authority to annex territory is still undecided by judicial authorities.
Settlers make up part of Netanyahu’s right-wing voter base and many members of his coalition cabinet view the West Bank as the biblical heartland of the Jewish people.
Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law. Trump has changed US policy to withdraw such objections.