Israeli education minister calls for annexation of West Bank

Israeli education minister calls for annexation of West Bank
2 min read
07 October, 2016
Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party has said that Israel should annex the occupied territories in the West Bank.
Israel has announced plans for a new settlement in Beit El, West Bank [Getty]
Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett has said Israel needs to make "sacrifices" in order to take over control of the West Bank.

Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, made a speech calling for the annexation of the Palestinian territory at a memorial event for settler leader, Hanan Porat.

"The dream is that Judea and Samaria [Israel's term for the West Bank] will be part of sovereign Israel," Bennett said.

"We must act today [to make this happen], and we must sacrifice."

The minister's speech came on the same day as the UN, the US and UK condemned Israeli plans to build 300 new homes for settlers in the West Bank.

Tobias Ellwood, the UK's minister for the Middle East, reminded Israel in a statement that "settlements are illegal under international law".

"As underlined in the July report of the Middle East Quartet, settlement activity undermines trust and makes a two state solution much harder to achieve."

"Bennett's dream and the minority he represents is Israel's nightmare."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the plans to build more settlements in Israel would "undermine the pursuit of peace", adding that Israel had gone back on its word.

"We did receive public assurances from the Israeli government that contradict this announcement," he said.

"I guess when we're talking about how good friends treat one another, that's a source of serious concern as well."

In response to the US' comments, Israel's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the construction was not a new settlement.

Bennett made the statements at a memorial event for Hanan Porat, the leader of the now-defunct settler group, Gush Emunim. The gorup famously believed God has given them the right to appropriate Palestinian land.

Other right-wing Israeli politicians have condemned Bennett's plans, however.

Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister said "Bennett's dream and the minority he represents is Israel's nightmare".