Abbas condemns Israeli ruling party vote for West Bank annexation
RAMALLAH: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Monday harshly condemned a vote by Israel’s ruling party in support of annexing large parts of the West Bank and criticised the United States for its silence.
Abbas said the non-binding vote by the central committee of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Sunday “could not be taken without the full support of the US administration.”
He said in a statement that the White House “has refused to condemn Israeli colonial settlements as well as the systematic attacks and crimes of the Israeli occupation against the people of Palestine.”
“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the US administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” Abbas said.
“Rather its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”
The Likud central committee backed a resolution urging Israel to extend sovereignty over all settlement areas in the West Bank and called for unlimited settlement construction.
Netanyahu, who is a member of the central committee, was not present for the vote.
Taking such a measure could effectively end hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as there would be little area left for a Palestinian state.
But a significant number of members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition say that is precisely what they are seeking and openly oppose a Palestinian state.
The prime minister says he still supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians, although he has also pushed for Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli occupation for more than 50 years.
Palestinian anger at the US is already high after President Donald Trump last month tore up decades of careful policy to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.