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You are here News International Israeli Official Describes Secret Government Bid to Cement Control of West Bank

Israeli Official Describes Secret Government Bid to Cement Control of West Bank

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Secret Israeli plan to annex West bankIsraeli judges have long ruled that Israel’s control of the territory is a temporary military occupation and complies with international law. A powerful minister’s recent speech, caught on tape, suggested the government is trying to change that.

An influential member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition told settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that the government is engaged in a stealthy effort to irreversibly change the way the territory is governed, to cement Israel’s control over it without being accused of formally annexing it.

In a taped recording of the speech, the official, Bezalel Smotrich, can be heard suggesting at a private event earlier this month that the goal was to prevent the West Bank from becoming part of a Palestinian state.

“I’m telling you, it’s mega-dramatic,” Mr. Smotrich told the settlers. “Such changes change a system’s DNA.”

While Mr. Smotrich’s opposition to ceding control over the West Bank is no secret, the Israeli government’s official position is that the West Bank’s status remains open to negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Israel’s rule over the territory amounts to a temporary military occupation overseen by army generals, not a permanent civilian annexation administered by Israeli civil servants.

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