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Abbas condemns Israeli vote to annex occupied West Bank

A significant number of Netanyahu's right-wing coalition openly oppose a Palestinian state. [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 January, 2018

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The central committee of Israel's ruling Likud Party on Sunday voted for a resolution urging its MPs to push to annex the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has strongly condemned a vote by Israel's ruling Likud party in support of annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank and criticised the United States for its silence.

The central committee of Israel's ruling Likud Party on Sunday voted for a resolution urging its MPs to push to annex the occupied West Bank.

The non-binding vote by the decision-making committee of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party called on its MPs "to spread Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank)".

In a statement, Abbas said: "We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the US administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace.

"Rather its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine."

The vote could not have taken place without the "full support of the US administration", he added, saying the White House "has refused to condemn Israeli colonial settlements as well as the systematic attacks and crimes of the Israeli occupation against the people of Palestine".

Such an Israeli measure could effectively end hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as there would be little area left for a Palestinian state.

A significant number of members of Netanyahu's right-wing coalition say that is precisely what they are seeking and openly oppose a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu says he still supports a two-state solution but has also pushed for Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

Palestinian officials were dismayed by US President Donald Trump after he tore up decades of careful foreign policy last month and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority announced it was recalling its envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot, for consultations amid anger over Trump's declaration.

In a later statement, it said it was making the move "to review the United Nations' General Assembly decision to reject" Trump's move on Jerusalem.

Defying Trump's threat to cut off funding, the United Nations approved by a resounding vote on December 21 a motion rejecting his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Zomlot is due to return to Washington "after the holidays," official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

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