Turkish officials slam Netanyahu's remarks on West Bank

Turkish officials slam Netanyahu's remarks on West Bank

Erdogan, an ardent defender of the Palestinian cause, and Netanyahu frequently exchange barbs, notably during election campaigns.

"It is time for (the PA) to stop security coordination with the occupation, and to get united in the face of the challenges".

Roughly 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank under the control of the Israeli military, and some 400,000 Israelis live in the territory in settlements which are illegal under global law - as would be their annexation by Israel, since the territory was acquired by war.

However, intermittent USA mediation between Israelis and Palestinians ran aground after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital early in his term.

Writing also on Twitter, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recalled that West Bank is a "Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in violation of int'l law". Beyond that, he seemed to imply Israel was entitled to do whatever it wants, and that no Israeli would ever be subject to Palestinian sovereignty.

"We'll continue to pursue our rights through global forums, including the worldwide criminal court, until we achieve our long overdue justice", he said.

That followed his December 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the U.S. Embassy there.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014, when a drive for a deal by Barack Obama's administration collapsed.

The Palestinians and many countries consider settlements to be illegal under the Geneva conventions, which ban settling on territory occupied in war.

But in the meantime, it has showered Netanyahu with priceless political gifts - from the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2018 to the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March - while battering the Palestinians with aid cuts and public scoldings. The annexation of parts of the West Bank would likely be considered the final blow to the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some Israeli commentators saw the right-wing leader's pledge on Saturday, as Tuesday's national ballot approaches, as mainly a bid to siphon votes from ultranationalist rivals long advocating annexation.

Negatively, Netanyahu is dealing with potential indictment on bribery and fraud charges.

AIPAC has generally provided unflinching backing for Netanyahu's policies during his 13 years in power, even as some U.S. Jewish organizations have expressed reservations over Israel's lurch to the right.

But this and other polls also projected a majority of the Knesset's 120 seats will go to the parties in Netanyahu's right-wing bloc, giving Netanyahu a slim but workable majority.

In 2015, Trump used similar rhetoric in a speech to the RJC.

Trump has teased the long-promised USA peace proposal as the "deal of the century", but it will undoubtedly be as Netanyahu-sided as everything else the Trump administration has done when it comes to Israel.

Israel and Palestine have had border and sovereignty disputes for several decades.

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