Israelis charting area to be annexed: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel has begun drawing up maps of land in the West Bank that will be annexed in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We are already at the height of the process of mapping the area that, according to the Trump plan, will become part of the state of Israel. It won’t take too long,” Mr Netanyahu said at a campaign rally in the Maale Adumim settlement on Saturday.

Mr Netanyahu said the area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley — territory Israel captured in the 1967 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 a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Prospects for annexations, which have already been widely condemned, are unclear.

Israel will hold a general election on March 2, the third in 12 months after neither Mr Netanyahu’s Likud nor former military chief Benny Gantz’s Blue and White United were twice able to form a coalition government in the 120-seat Knesset.

Mr Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges, is hoping to win a fifth term in office. He heads a caretaker government, whose legal authority to annex territory is still undecided by ­judicial authorities.

Settlers make up part of Mr 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.

Read the article by Maayan Lubell in The Australian.