The Organization of Islamic Cooperation will hold an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intent to annex parts of the West Bank.
The 57-member organization tweeted earlier this week that the meeting would be held “at the request of Saudi Arabia” in Jeddah.
On Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the OIC would meet to discuss “Netanyahu’s statements on the intention to annex Jordan Valley and the illegal settlements in the West Bank by Israel.”
Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea
Netanyahu said Tuesday that he planned to annex part of the occupied West Bank if he won re-election next week, a move that could significantly alter the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu said in a live televised address that he intended to “apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea,” a strategically important area, if he won on Sept. 17.
Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi tweeted that annexation would destroy any chance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord:
“Netanyahu’s cheap pandering to his extremist racist base exposes his real political agenda of superimposing ‘greater Israel’ on all of historical Palestine & carrying out an ethnic cleansing agenda. All bets are off! Dangerous aggression. Perpetual conflict.”
Anticipating Netanyahu’s announcement shortly before it was made, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Israeli leader was “a prime destroyer of the peace process.”
Netanyahu’s announcement reaffirmed his pledge to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but he has said he will not act before publication of a long-awaited U.S. peace proposal and consultations with President Donald Trump.
There has been no comment from the White House, but the Trump administration has been receptive to Israel’s annexation of at least portions of the West Bank.
The Jordan Valley is a 2,400-square-kilometer (927-square-mile) area that accounts for nearly 30 percent of the territory in the West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war. The Palestinians covet the valley for the eastern perimeter of a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu is in the midst of a closely contested re-election bid. Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, five months after the country’s parliament was dissolved in a vote in which Netanyahu failed to assemble a government. Polls show he is even or slightly behind Benny Gantz, a moderate former army chief of staff.
The prime minister is also facing a series of corruption charges.
More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements considered illegal by international law. About 2.7 million Palestinians live in the territory.