Israel will not miss a “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, calling the move one of his new government’s top tasks.
Palestinians consider such a step as illegal annexation of occupied land they seek for a future state. Last week, they declared an end to security cooperation with Israel and its ally, the United States, in protest at the territorial plan.
Netanyahu has pledged to put Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty. He has set July 1 as a starting date for cabinet discussions on the issue, which has also raised alarm within the European Union.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the matter complex and said it required coordination with Washington. Netanyahu’s new political partner, centrist Benny Gantz, has been equivocal about de facto annexation.