Netanyahu backs annexation of 19 West Bank settlements

Source: The Guardian

in Jerusalem

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has backed legislation that would in effect annex settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories that are home to between 125,000 and 150,000 Jewish people.

In comments made at a meeting of his Likud party at the large settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, Netanyahu said he would support the “Greater Jerusalem” bill. The bill, pushed by rightwing MPs, would annex 19 settlements around Jerusalem, placing them within the city’s municipal boundaries.

The legislation, drawn up by Yisrael Katz, a member of Likud and minister in Netanyahu’s coalition, is expected to be introduced in the winter session of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

Ma’ale Adumim is a settlement of roughly 40,000 people just east of Jerusalem. It is considered strategic because it lies in the centre of the West Bank, and making it part of Israel could greatly hinder Palestinian statehood aspirations.

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