Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu vows to retain every West Bank settlement

Netanyahu attends an event in the Jewish settlement of Revava in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 10, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Wednesday (July 10) not to dismantle even the remotest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, in a message to settlers ahead of September's general election.

Israeli media had speculated that after US President Donald Trump handed Netanyahu valuable political prizes by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and its annexation of the Golan Heights, Trump might expect concessions in return when he finally unveils his long-awaited proposals for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"We shall not allow the dismantling of any settlement in any peace plan," Netanyahu told an audience at the settlement of Revava in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"I also make no distinction between the settlement blocs and isolated settlement sites," he said in Hebrew.

"Every such spot is Israeli from my point of view."

The Palestinian leadership has already rejected the US peace plan, saying that Trump's moves so far show him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace since they are located on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The settlers are a major plank of support for Netanyahu's right-wing government and his bid for re-election.

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