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Arab World blast Israel over ‘annexation’ plan

Several Arab countries have condemned a plan by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex a third of the occupied West Bank.

On Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu pledged to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea if he is returned to office following next week’s general election.

Officials in Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia sharply criticised the announcement.

According to the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, the plan would be “manifestly illegal”.

The annexation proposed by Mr. Netanyahu would “bury any chance of peace”, he said.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since capturing it from Jordan in the June 1967 war. The Jewish state has however stopped short of formally annexing the territory.

Palestinians say the entire area belongs to a future independent state. Previously, Mr. Netanyahu had insisted Israel would always retain a presence in the Jordan Valley for security reasons.

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