Turkey Foreign Minister brands Netanyahu ‘irresponsible’ over West Bank comments

Mr Netanyahu outlined his intentions to “extend sovereignty” over the landlocked region which would further prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Israeli Prime Minister who is seeking a fifth term in office if he wins Tuesday’s election, reiterated his plans to “continue controlling the entire territory west of the Jordan”. When asked why he had not already annexed some of the larger settlements, Mr Netanyahu said: “Who says that we won’t do it? We are on the way and we are discussing it.

“You are asking whether we are moving on to the next stage – the answer is yes, we will move to the next stage.

“I am going to extend sovereignty and I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlements.

“From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians.”

His timely remarks have been met with widespread criticism with Turkish foreign affairs minister Mevlut Cavusolglu insisting the annexation would be a “violation of international law”.

The West Bank territory was seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war and is home to around 2.5 million Palestinians.

However in recent years Israeli has settled about 400,000 Jews there, with another 200,000 living in East Jerusalem.

Mr Cavusolglu said: “West Bank is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in violation of international law. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s irresponsible statement to seek votes just before the Israeli general elections cannot and will not change this fact.”

Meanwhile Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat echoed Mr Cavusolglu’s comments, but he also took aim at Washington for setting an un-welcomed precedent by recognising Israel’s sovereignty over another disputed region in the Golan Heights.

Last month the US received widespread criticism over its shift in policy and were accused of destabilising relationships in the Middle East.

Golan Heights is a territory Israel captured from Syria in the 1967.

Mr Erekat said: ”Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration’s support and endorsement of Israel’s violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine.”

Relationships between the US and Palestine had already been strained following Washington’s decision in 2017 to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which is the the city Palestinians want to be the capital of their future state.

source: express.co.uk