US behind Israeli ruling party vote on occupied West Bank: President Abbas


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has strongly denounced a vote by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party in support of annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank, lambasting the US for its silence on the provocative move.

“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli” regime, “with the full support of the US administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” the Palestinian leader said on Monday.

Abbas’s comments came a day after the central committee of Likud voted in favor of a non-binding resolution, asking Israeli law to be applied to “the freed settled expanses of the West Bank,” referring to the parts of the occupied land where Israel has built illegal settlements since 1967. The resolution also called for “unimpeded construction” there.

The Palestinian president further said that Tel Aviv’s “main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”

Israel has occupied the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, which the Palestinians consider as the capital of their future state. It has also been erecting illegal settlements across the land in a move seen as de facto annexation of the territory.

Taking such a contentious step could effectively shatter hopes for a so-called two-state solution to the persisting Israeli-Palestinian conflict as there would be practically little area left for a Palestinian state.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, which administers the besieged Gaza Strip, harshly condemned the vote, saying the move entailed “continued damage to the rights of Palestinians under American auspices, and will lead to greater resistance.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Abbas noted that the provocative measure “could not be taken without the full support of” the US administration.

Palestinian anger at Washington is already high after US President Donald Trump on December said the White House recognized the entire of Jerusalem al-Quds, both is east and west, as Israel’s capital, outraging Palestinians and triggering warnings across the world.

At least 14 Palestinians have been killed and around 3,000 others injured during protests that have ensued the announcement.

Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.

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