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Netanyahu backs far-right party plan to 'annex West Bank' Open in fullscreen

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Netanyahu backs far-right party plan to 'annex West Bank'

Netanyahu presides over the most right-wing coalition in Israel's political history. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2017

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In a pre-recorded video message played to attendees who took part in National Union-Tkuma's conference, Netanyahu said he was "pleased" the far-right party was discussing Israel's future.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday appeared to give his backing to a diplomatic plan to annex the West Bank, issuing a video message of support ahead of a vote by the far-right National Union-Tkuma party to officially adopt the policy.

The "Victory Plan" was first hatched by National Union-Tkuma politician Bezalel Smotrich, who serves as a Knesset member for the Jewish Home party.

The plan envisions annexing the West Bank and paying Palestinians to emigrate from the Israeli-occupied territory if they do not give up their national aspirations for statehood.

Under the proposal, Palestinians who remained in the Israeli annexed territory would not be allowed to vote in the Knesset unless they agreed to serve in Israel's army.

A party conference held on Tuesday by National Union-Tkuma voted unanimously to adopt the proposal.

Palestinians who refuse to accept either of those options will "be dealt with by the security forces with a strong hand", Smotrich said, according to the Times of Israel.

The plan envisions annexing the West Bank and paying Palestinians to emigrate from the Israeli-occupied territory

"We have to engrave in the consciousness of the Arabs and the entire world that there is no chance of establishing an Arab state in the Land of Israel", Smotrich told attendees.

"Lacking the full right to vote for national parliament does not mean apartheid rule; at most, it is a missing component in the basket of freedoms, or if we wish, a deficit in the democracy", he added.

Echoing election campaign phrases used by Donald Trump, Smotrich said his plan "drain[ed] the swamp" of discourse around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by addressing its "root causes".

'Future of Israel'

In a pre-recorded video message played to attendees who took part in the diplomatic conference, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he was "pleased" the far-right party was discussing Israel's future.

"Not so many years ago, this land was desolate and abandoned, but since our return to Zion, after generations of exile, the Land of Israel is flourishing", he said in the video.

"We are building the land and we are settling it. In the mountains, in the valleys, in the Galilee, in the Negev, and yes, in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] as well", he added.

"Because this is our land. The homeland of the Jewish people. The only land promised to our forefathers. We were given the right to settle here. And we must guard it with caution".

He ended the video message by quoting a verse from the Torah: "And bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey".

Netanyahu presides over the most right-wing coalition in Israel's political history, with far-right Israeli politicians long proposing plans to annex the West Bank and coerce Palestinians to leave to maintain a Jewish majority.

In late August, Netanyahu said that his government would never remove settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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