Israeli far-right minister speaks of effort to annex West Bank

Israeli far-right minister speaks of effort to annex West Bank

The Guardian reports:

Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has described in explicit terms his active effort to annex the West Bank to Israel, days after the Guardian revealed how the pro-settlement politician and his allies had quietly gained significant new legal powers to that end.

Speaking at a meeting of his Religious Zionism party, Smotrich told colleagues that he was “establish[ing] facts on the ground in order to make Judea and Samaria [an Israeli term for the occupied West Bank] an integral part of the state of Israel”.

“We will establish sovereignty … first on the ground and then through legislation. I intend to legalise the young settlements [illegal outposts],” Smotrich said in comments reported by Haaretz. “My life’s mission is to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Annexation and the acquisition of territory by military conquest is forbidden as one of the founding principles of international law including the UN charter.

The comments by Smotrich echoed recorded remarks he made at a gathering of supporters in the West Bank, first disclosed by the New York Times, in which he appeared to refer to the administrative changes as “mega-dramatic”. He was quoted as saying: “Such changes change a system’s DNA.” [Continue reading…]

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