On September 10th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the grand campaign promise to annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank if he were to win the upcoming elections.
Netanyahu also promised that these annexations of occupied land would be supported by the Trump Administration, and that US President Donald Trump would reveal his “deal of the century” plan, following a successful vote in the “only democracy in the Middle East.”
What he said was essentially the exact same he said four months ago prior to the elections he won and then subsequently failed to form a coalition and a government.
This time it was reinforced by promises that Trump’s “peace plan” would provide opportunity to annex the areas. It remains questionable how that “peace plan” would be acceptable, but time will tell.
It should also be noted that the Prime Minister of the “only democracy in the Middle East” is also the country’s Defense Minister, Health Minister, Minister of the Diaspora and since September 4th is the Welfare Minister, since former Welfare Minister Haim Katz resigned due to impending criminal fraud charges. Netanyahu was also Foreign Minister until early 2019. But, of course, there can be no tyrant in a democracy, and after all there’s “evil overlords” to compare to such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who ironically only occupies the role of President of Syria.
The one-man-government said the following:
“Out of respect for President Trump and out of great faith in our friendship, I will wait with applying sovereignty until release of the president’s political plan,” Netanyahu said. “As much as it is possible, I want to apply sovereignty in the communities and other areas with maximum coordination with the U.S. … But there is one place where it is possible to apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the election. If I receive a clear mandate to do so from you, the citizens of Israel. In recent months I have led a diplomatic effort in this direction, and the conditions for this have ripened,” he continued. “Today I am announcing my intention to apply, with the formation of the next government, Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea,” Netanyahu said, calling the area “Israel’s eastern border.”
The Trump Administration rushed to say that nothing was final, and at current there would be no change in policy towards approving further annexation, such as the case with the Golan Heights earlier in 2019.
“There is no change in United States policy at this time. We will release our Vision for Peace after the Israeli election and work to determine the best path forward to bring long sought security, opportunity and stability to the region,” a White House official was cited by Haaretz.
Palestinian former chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the plan was “manifestly illegal and merely adds to Israel’s long history of violations of international law.”
Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party and the Democratic Union, a left-wing alliance, petitioned the Central Elections Committee to bar the live broadcast of Netanyahu’s statement, arguing it may amount to illegal electioneering. Gantz is also Netanyahu’s principal “nemesis” in the elections.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned ahead of the announcement that Israel might declare plans to annex part of the West Bank as an election ploy by Netanyahu.
“The land of Palestine is not part of Netanyahu’s election campaign,” Shtayyeh said.
“If he believes that he will win votes in the short term by annexing the settlement blocs, then he and Israel are the losers in the long term.” Shtayyeh warned, urging the EU and others to quickly recognize a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
In an attempt to show that he is needed, Netanyahu furthermore revealed information of alleged Iranian sites used to develop its nuclear program. Gantz accused him of using sensitive intelligence to forward his election agenda.
Netanyahu also faces charges of bribery and corruption later in the year.
During his speech on September 10th, Netanyahu was evacuated after a rocket attack originating from Gaza was launched towards the southern city of Ashdod and Ashkelon. The Israeli Prime Minister was giving his speech in Ashdod.
Initial video of one of the strikes pic.twitter.com/GpfvkTuZjv
— Israel Conflict News (@IsraelGazaICN) September 10, 2019
The Iron Dome defense system intercepted both projectiles. Just minutes after being evacuated, he returned to complete his speech.
רגע הפינוי של ראש הממשלה נתניהו, אחרי שהופעלה אזעקה באשוד. pic.twitter.com/Y2KLOnrx8d
— almog boker (@bokeralmog) September 10, 2019
In response, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent out fighter jets that struck 15 “terror targets” in Gaza, including an alleged weapons manufacturing site and a Hamas “terror tunnel.” The IDF blamed Hamas for the attack.
Our targets included:
🔴 A weapons manufacturing site
🔴 A Hamas terror tunnel
We hold Hamas accountable.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) September 11, 2019
In a dramatic announcement, the IDF claimed that “nearly half a million” Israelis were threatened by the two rockets.
Nearly half a million Israelis came under rocket fire moments ago when 2 rockets were fired from #Gaza toward the Israeli port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Thankfully, both rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) September 10, 2019
There’s been no statement from Hamas. But it could potentially be speculated that these two futile rocket firings were part of a play to present Netanyahu as such a fearsome leader that Hamas are trying to specifically eliminate him, along with “half a million Israelis.” All that with two rockets that were easily intercepted by the Iron Dome with no threat to life.
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- Netanyahu Evacuated After Rocket Attack, Israeli Air Force Strikes Gaza In Response (Video)
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