Erdogan Slams Netanyahu for Promising to Annex Illegal Settlements

Published April 8th, 2019 - 03:06 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday hit back at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pledge to annex illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"Netanyahu's every action is against international law," Erdogan announced according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

"The West Bank is absolutely Palestinian land."

Netanyahu and the Turkish president have been in an on-off war of words with one another since Turkey split ties with Israel over the 2010 Israeli raid of the Mavia Marma, an aid flotilla bound towards Gaza. Ten Turkish activists were killed in the attack.

While Israel and Turkey formally normalised ties in 2016, relations soured again following US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 

This follows comments made on Sunday by Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Omer Celik lambasted the Israeli premier's plans as against "UN security council resolutions and international law".

Settlements built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war are deemed illegal by the international community and their ongoing construction is seen as a major barrier to peace.

"I will apply [Israeli] sovereignty, but I don't distinguish between settlement blocs and isolated settlements," Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel's Channel 12 news on Saturday.

"There shouldn't be the removal of even one settlement."

More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements as part of its military occupation of the territory.

A further 200,000 live in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem, which is also considered illegal under international law.

The Israeli prime minister did not make clear what the annexation of illegal West Bank settlements - which, in patchwork form, take up a large part of the West Bank - would mean for Palestinians.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki on Sunday pledged that Palestinians would resist any attempts by Israel to annex Palestinian land in the West Bank.

"If Netanyahu wants to declare, you know, sovereignty over, Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, then you know, he has to face a real problem. The presence of 4.5 million Palestinians, what to do with them? You know, he cannot expel us, because we are not going to accept to be expelled," he said.

"We will stay there. We will resist, you know, such behaviour, such decision, and then you know, the international community has to deal with us, you know, in that respect."

Netanyahu's remarks came just days before Israel's national elections on Tuesday, in which the prime minister is seeking a fifth term despite ongoing corruption probes.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.     


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