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Israel defence minister warns Hamas not to retaliate against West Bank annexation Open in fullscreen

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Israel defence minister warns Hamas not to retaliate against West Bank annexation

Benny Gantz threatened Hamas [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 June, 2020

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Alternate Israeli Prime Minister threatened Hamas and Hezbollah over the illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank.
Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz threatened Hamas and Hezbollah if they retaliate to Israel's illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank.

Gantz said Hamas "will pay a heavy price if it wants to test Israel", days after the group called the annexations a “declaration of war.”

In a televised address, Hamas on Thursday warned Israel against annexation.

"The resistance considers the decision to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley to be a declaration of war on our people," said spokesman Abu Ubaida.

Gantz added that Lebanon would be held responsible if Hezbollah chooses to attack Israel over the reviled decision to annex Palestinian land.

Read also: Control of Al-Aqsa mosque 'under threat' by Israel, Jerusalem's grand mufti warns

Israel's plans to annex approximately one third of the West Bank was greenlighted by US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century". The plan also envisages the creation of a severely restricted Palestinian state. 

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Israel could begin implementing annexations as soon as 1 July.

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