PM takes ministers out of Jerusalem to highlight pledge to annex parts of West Bank if he prevails in Tuesday elections, says Trump plan for new defense treaty ‘adds another layer of deterrence’ for IDF

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government met Sunday in the Jordan Valley, an area of the West Bank that he has pledged to annex if he is victorious in Tuesday’s Knesset elections.

In his final cabinet meeting, which is normally held in Jerusalem, before the vote, Netanyahu touted the defense treaty with the U.S. that President Donald Trump revealed on Twitter on Saturday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Sunday's cabinet meeting (Photo: Moshe Mizarahi)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Sunday’s cabinet meeting (Photo: Moshe Mizarahi)


“I spoke to President Trump this weekend and we have agreed to promote a historic defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel,” said Netanyahu. “It adds another layer of deterrence alongside preserving our forces’ freedom of action.”

Netanyahu also doubled down on his promise from last week to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and to annex Jewish settlements.

“The second layer is extending Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. We will apply our sovereignty as soon as the next government is established. The third layer is applying our sovereignty on all towns in the West Bank,” he said.

Netanyahu’s annexation pledge sparked a cascade of international condemnations. Critics say it could inflame the Middle East and eliminate any remaining Palestinian hope of establishing a state.

In Israel, it was widely viewed as Netanyahu’s latest campaign stunt to draw right-wing voters.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz votes in the April 2019 elections (Photo: EPA)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz votes in the April 2019 elections (Photo: EPA)


This Tuesday’s elections come following five months after the April elections. after which Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition.

Negotiations between Netanyahu and several potential coalition partners stalled. One sticking point between Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman was the cancellation of a bill to exempt yeshiva students from military service.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s legal troubles overshadowed further possible coalition negotiations, with second-biggest party Blue and White refusing to work with him.

Instead of Netanyahu conceding that he could not muster the 61-MK majority he needed and allowing President Reuven Rivlin to task another party leader with building a government, his party pushed through a bill to dissolve itself soon after the April elections and triggered the unprecedented second round of voting in one year.

As reported by Ynetnews