Israel will not miss a “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, calling the move one of his new government’s top tasks.
Netanyahu has pledged to put Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty. He has set July 1 as a starting date for cabinet discussions on the issue, which has also raised alarm within the European Union.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the matter complex and said it required coordination with Washington. Netanyahu’s new political partner, centrist Benny Gantz, has been equivocal about de facto annexation.
At a meeting of legislators of his right-wing Likud party on Monday, Netanyahu set land moves in the West Bank as “perhaps the first in importance in many respects” of the tasks to be undertaken by the government he and Gantz formed on May 17.
“We have a historic opportunity, which hasn’t existed since 1948, to apply sovereignty judiciously as a diplomatic... step in Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the year of Israel’s birth and using the biblical names for the West Bank.