Benjamin Netanyahu is evacuated from rally as rockets are fired towards the city of Ashdod – just hours after Israeli PM controversial announcement to annex the Jordan Valley if he’s re-elected
- He also reiterated intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout West Bank
- But he will do it in coordination with Trump’s soon to be unveiled peace plan
- These controversial moves could kill any remaining hopes for two-state solution
- Just hours after the announcement Netanyahu taken off stage at campaign rally
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been evacuated from a campaign rally after rockets were fired towards the city of Ashdod – just hours after his controversial announcement to annex the Jordan Valley if he’s re-elected.
Bodyguards rushed Netanyahu off the stage at an election campaign rally in southern Israel city after the sirens warned of a possible attack from Gaza.
There were no immediate reports of any rockets exploding in the city of Ashdod, and the Israeli PM was taken to a sheltered area, and is understood to be safe.
It comes just hours after Netanyahu’s deeply controversial pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if he is re-elected.
‘There is one place where we can apply Israeli sovereignty immediately after the elections,’ Netanyahu said in a televised speech.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement in Ramat Gan, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, today
‘If I receive from you, citizens of Israel, a clear mandate to do so … today I announce my intention to apply with the formation of the next government Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.’
The prime minister also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements throughout the West Bank if re-elected.
Though in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote.
Those moves could effectively kill any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of international diplomacy.
The announcement has been widely condemned by world leaders and the Palestinian authorities.
In response Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh labelled Mr Netanyahu a ‘prime destroyer of the peace process.’
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said: ‘He is not only destroying the two-state solution, he is destroying all chances of peace.’
‘This is a total game changer.’
And Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the annexation would be ‘manifestly illegal’.
(Israeli soldiers stand guard in an old army outpost overlooking the Jordan Valley between the Israeli city of Beit Shean and the West Bank city of Jericho. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected in September 17 polls
He called on the international community to ‘act now to prevent Netanyahu and his allies from burying any remaining prospects for peace’.
Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman, said Tuesday that the organization maintains that any Israeli move to impose its administration over the Palestinian territory ‘would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations, regional peace and the very essence of a two-state solution.’
Meanwhile Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, said in a statement that annexation of Israel’s West Bank settlements would fan the flames of conflict around the region.
The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank and Israeli right-wing politicians have long viewed the strategic area as a part of the territory they would never retreat from.
Israeli settlements are located in what is known as Area C of the West Bank, which accounts for some 60 percent of the territory, including most of the Jordan Valley.