Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has promised not to drive away Jewish settlers from the West Bank while at the same time vowing not to cede the settlements to Palestinians.
Speaking on Saturday, Netanyahu, who is seeking re-election amidst rising opposition and several allegations, said he will annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected.
The vow, viewed as a major policy shift, is one with which the Isreali leader aims to rally his nationalist base in the tight race that is apparently still too close to call.
West Bank, which Palestinians consider the heartland of a future state, is one of the major topics not just in the election but around policy discussions in the west and middle east.
An Israeli annexation of large parts of the disputed land that Israel took over about 52 years ago is likely to dash hopes of a deal on the terms of a Palestinian state.
A so-called two-state solution which the international community has long mooted as the best option faces a huge obstacle with US President, Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital frittering away much of the confidence in that process.
Specifically, on seeing Israel annex east Jerusalem as their capital, Palestinians suspended contact with the US.
Further, Trump’s decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, only increased those feelings of distrust for America.