Erekat: Annexation makes peace impossible

Senior PLO official warns that Israeli plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria makes achieving peace impossible.

Elad Benari ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

Senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that the Israeli plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria makes achieving peace impossible.

"Annexation means one thing: peace will not be possible between Israelis and Palestinians and cannot be done between Israel and the Arab countries," Erekat said in a press statement quoted by the Xinhua news agency.

His statement came as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented his new government to the Knesset.

The coalition agreement between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, who was appointed Vice Prime Minister and Defense Minister in the new government, stipulates that the government can apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria this coming July.

Netanyahu reiterated his support for the sovereignty move at the start of the inauguration ceremony for the new government.

"It is time to apply Israeli law to the territories in Judea and Samaria. This step will not push off peace, but will bring it closer. Hundreds of thousands of settlers will not be moved from their homes," he said.

"The whole issue of sovereignty is only at issue because I have personally worked to promote it for three years," Netanyahu stressed. "With all my tremendous appreciation for the support the United States gives us, I repeat what I have said for decades: Israel's security rests on our strength."

The sovereignty plan has been condemned by Palestinian Arab officials as has been the perceived US support for the move. The PA “justice minister” recently threatened the US with lawsuits for supporting the sovereignty move.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was non-committal on the timetable for sovereignty in an interview published in the Israel Hayom newspaper before his brief visit to Israel last week, saying that the decision to apply sovereignty is Israel’s to make.

On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told journalists that if Israel applies sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, the move should be part of discussions between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs on fulfilling US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.