Erdoğan threatens Israel over West Bank annexation plan: report

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan / AFP PHOTO / RONEN ZVULUN AND OZAN KOSE

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened Israel over its new government’s plan to annex portions of the West Bank, The Times of Israel reported.

“We are witnessing a new plan of occupation and annexation by Israel that threatens Palestinian sovereignty and is contrary to international law,” Erdoğan said in a video address late Sunday for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. “We won’t allow the transfer of Palestinian land to anyone.”

“Turkey is the only voice defending the Palestinians today,” Erdoğan added, “The world order has let down the Palestinians and has not successfully brought peace, justice, security and order to this part of the world.”

Erdoğan said Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are “holy to three religions and are the red line for all Muslims in the world.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow to begin annexing the Jordan Valley and all settlements in July has drawn condemnation from a growing list of countries, including Arab states such as Jordan and European nations like France and Germany.

Netanyahu on Monday reiterated the July date set out in the coalition agreement for beginning the process of extending sovereignty and informed his Likud lawmakers he had no intention of changing it.

At the opening of his Likud faction’s weekly meeting in the Knesset, Netanyahu said there had never been a better time in the country’s history to annex these areas.

“We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass,” Netanyahu said, referring to the year the State of Israel was established and using the biblical names for the West Bank territory.

The move would be coordinated with Washington, in accordance with the Middle East plan US President Donald Trump unveiled in January, which endorsed extending Israeli sovereignty over roughly 30 percent of the West Bank.

However, the entire peace plan has been rejected by the Palestinians, who seek the West Bank as territory for a future Palestinian state.

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