Netanyahu said he looks forward to Israel “celebrat[ing] another historic moment in the history of Zionism.”
By Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he was “confident” Israel will be able to annex Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria this summer, with support from the U.S.
Speaking to an online gathering of evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, Netanyahu said President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan envisions Israeli sovereignty over dozens of Jewish towns and cities in Judea and Samaria, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.
“A couple of months from now, I’m confident that that pledge will be honored, that we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu said.
The Palestinians seek all of Judea and Samaria as part of an independent state that they have so-far failed to establish.
They have threatened to cancel existing peace agreements if Netanyahu moves forward with Israel’s plan.
Meanwhile, the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said annexation would be a violation of international law, despite the fact the leading legal experts, such as George Mason University’s Eugene Kontrovich, have debunked the argument that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are “illegal.”
Netanyahu, along with a significant percentage of Israelis, is eager to move ahead while Trump remains in office. Annexation would be popular with Trump’s evangelical base as he seeks to shore up support ahead of his run for reelection.
Netanyahu last week reached a power-sharing deal with his main rival, Benny Gantz. Although Gantz, a former Israeli military chief. Their coalition agreement allows Netanyahu to present the plan to his Cabinet and to parliament for fast-track approval.
Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria in the 1967 Six-Day War, a conflict during which four Arab nations attacked the Jewish state. Currently, hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews live in Judea and Samaria, in addition to another 200,000 Israelis who live in eastern portions of Jerusalem.
After Trump unveiled his Mideast plan in January, Netanyahu pledged to begin annexing territory immediately. But the Trump administration quickly delayed the plan, and the sides set up a joint committee to formulate a plan together.
Netanyahu addressed a conference marking the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, a post-World War I gathering in Italy that helped lay the foundations for Israel’s establishment in 1948.