Israel drawing up map for West Bank annexation plan
Israel 'drawing up map' for West Bank annexation plan despite global uproar
Donald Trump's so-called 'Deal of the Century' gives the green light for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank.
Israel has begun drawing up maps of land in the occupied West Bank it plans to annex under a plan proposed by US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.
"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," Netanyahu said during a campaign rally in the Maale Adumim settlement according to Reuters.
The Israeli premier reaffirmed that Israel plans to annex all Israeli settlements, as well as the Jordan Valley - a highly fertile area that makes up around a third of the occupied West Bank.
The West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967.
While settlements are widely considered illegal under international law, Trump's plan pushes for their annexation into Israel proper - an act that, with the seizure of the Jordan Valley, would leave the future Palestinian state with a scattering of disconnected territories.
"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 Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" plan calls for Israel to have an "undivided" capital in Jerusalem, with Palestinians allowed a much smaller capital in the eastern suburbs of Jerusalem that have already been cut off from the city by the seperation wall.
The plan's call for annexing much of the West Bank has been widely condemned, with many comparing it to the bantustans created under the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
This demilitarised Palestinian state - consisting of disconnected parts of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Negev desert - would also be subject to complete Israeli control over its security.
Netanyahu had initially pledged to immediately start work on annexation plans, but prospects for the move under the current caretaker administration are unclear.
The prime minister, indicted on corruption charges, is currently campaigning to win a fifth term in office on March 2, when Israel will hold its third national election in a year.
Netanyahu faces pressure from his right-wing voter base to make good on his repeated annexation promise.
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