Twitter Explodes After ‘Trump’ Yarmulkes Appear at Republican Jewish Coalition

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Saturday to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins the upcoming general election.

"I said there shouldn't be the removal of even one settlement [from the occupied West Bank]", Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 13 television.

"Yet another example of how Netanyahu uses electoral politics to justify occupation and undermine the two-state solution", said Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Netanyahu mentioned the recent USA recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights as an achievement.

Once praised by Netanyahu as an "excellent officer" to whom Israelis owed gratitude, the prime minister has now branded his competition as a "weak leftist".

Applying sovereignty to Israeli settlements on West Bank land that the Palestinians demand for a future state, presumably along with the roads and infrastructure tethering those places to the rest of Israel, would leave the Palestinians at best with an archipelago of disconnected territory.

After Omar apologized for her words, Trump, during a Cabinet meeting in the White House, said, "I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee", per reporting from CNN.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, all territory Israel captured in 1967.

Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.

Palestinian protesters seek cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank region.

In March, Mr Trump broke with decades of worldwide consensus by recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria.

With Mr Trump's moves on Jerusalem and The Golan, the Israeli leader may feel emboldened to advocate for annexation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen behind his main challenger in opinion polls ahead of next week's Israeli election but still has an easier path to form a government that would keep him in power for a record fifth term.

His comments come just days before the closely-fought April 9 poll and could be seen as an appeal to right-wing voters, who do not believe in the feasibility of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

"Such a statement by Netanyahu is not surprising", Dr. Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official, said in response to the prime minister's comments on Saturday. Trump has cited his moving of the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and his decision to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal as reasons for Jewish voters to leave the Democratic party and support him and the GOP instead.

On Friday, the last day polling is allowed, Gantz's centrist Blue and White party was projected to take 30 seats, more than the 26 forecast for Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, according to a poll in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

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