Riyad al-Maliki
Riyad al-MalikiReuters

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) “foreign minister”, Riyad Al-Maliki, warned on Sunday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will face a “real problem” if he follows through with his promise to apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Speaking to The Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Maliki asserted that Netanyahu’s pledge was likely aimed at rallying his base in the final stretch of a tight election campaign.

He stressed that the PA would “resist” such a policy if carried out.

“If Netanyahu wants to declare Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, then you know he has to face a real problem, the presence of 4.5 million Palestinians, what to do with them,” Maliki told AP, adding that Israel cannot expel the Palestinian Arabs.

“We will stay there,” he said. “The international community has to deal with us.”

The PA official accused the US of encouraging Netanyahu by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, more recently, recognizing Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu’s comments came in an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night.

"Yes, I'll apply sovereignty. I don't separate the large [settlement] blocs from the isolated points (settlements -ed.),” he said.

The comments were condemned by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat, who accused Israel of violating international law.

““Such a statement by Netanyahu is not surprising. Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump Administration's support and endorsement of Israel's violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine,” Erekat wrote on Twitter.

He also threatened that the PA could resort to legal measures to prevent such action by Israel.

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed Netanyahu’s annexation pledge as an “irresponsible statement to seek votes.”

Cavusoglu said on Twitter that Judea and Samaria are “Palestinian territory” and added, “The Israeli general elections cannot and will not change this fact.”