WORLD

Ankara calls Netanyahu’s pledge "illegitimate and unacceptable"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge to annex Jordan Valley in a fait accompli is illegitimate and never acceptable, said Turkey on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry urged the international community to take a stand against 's violations of fundamental principles of law.

Turkey will continue to stand by the Palestinians and support them in their struggle for independence, it added.

Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel will impose its sovereignty over the and other settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week's Israeli election.

Roughly 70,000 Palestinians -- along with some 9,500 Jewish settlers -- currently live in the Jordan Valley, a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one-quarter of the West Bank.

Israel claims that the valley is vital to its security and has consistently rejected the notion of relinquishing any part of it in any future settlement with the Palestinians.

Earlier this month Netanyahu renewed a pledge to annex all settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank, saying: "With God's help, we'll apply Jewish sovereignty on all the settlements, as part of the land of Israel and as part of the state of Israel."

Some 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians see these territories -- along with the Gaza Strip -- as integral for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

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