Ahead of Election Day, Israel’s Netanyahu Says He “Won’t Recognize Palestinians’ Right of Return”

Ahead of Election Day, Israel’s Netanyahu Says He “Won’t Recognize Palestinians’ Right of Return”

Netanyahu tours Jewish-only settlement in occupied Palestinian territory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed publicly that he will not recognize Palestinians’ right of return to their homeland if re-elected on Tuesday.

Speaking to Efi Triger on Army Radio’s “Good Morning Israel” program on Monday, Netanyahu went farther than he did over recent days, denying the Palestinians their legitimate and universally-recognized right to return to their motherland and threatening to annex Jewish-only settlements built across the occupied Palestinian territories.

“I said this to Trump: I plan to apply sovereignty on all of the settlements – including in the blocs, and the territory [around them] – and all the settlements and sites that have importance from a security or Israeli heritage perspective,” Netanyahu said.

“I said that no one will be uprooted, I won’t recognize the [Palestinian] right of return and I said that Jerusalem must remain united. All these things were said,” the prime minister added.

With a few hours left to go until the election, Triger asked him: “Kiryat Arba and the Jewish community in Hebron will be annexed?”

Netanyahu responded: “Of course. They will be part of Israel. But I need a mandate to execute this plan.”

He told Army Radio that he had spoken of his sovereignty plan for West Bank settlements with US President Donald Trump: “We are determining Israel’s final borders, so it has strategic depth and heights”.

Last week, Netanyahu unveiled a plan to annex 31 West Bank settlements, including 22 in the Jordan Valley, five in the Megilot region of the Dead Sea and four in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. He said he would do so unilaterally as soon as a new government was formed and asked those who support such a plan to vote for him, reported Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post.

For the Palestinians, the area stretching from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, including the Jordan Valley, makes part and parcel of their future state with Jerusalem as its eternal and undivided capital.

The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea constitute almost 30 percent of the West Bank. Some 65,000 Palestinians and about 11,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in the area - most of which is under Israeli military control in what is referred to as Area C.

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