Netanyahu promises 'immediate' annexation steps if re-elected

JERUSALEM: one day before Israel In the third election in a year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on Sunday that if he is re-elected he will annex swathes of the occupied West Bank in a matter of weeks.

In an interview with Israel and public radio, Netanyahu said annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank was his top priority among four major immediate missions.

That will happen within weeks, at most two months, I hope, he said in the interview issued 24 hours before the polls were scheduled to open.

The joint US- Israel i mapping committee started work a week ago, I added.

The Middle East peace plan, widely criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump, presented at the end of January, gave the Jewish state a green light to annex the area and proposed a committee to establish the exact borders of the territory to be annexed. .

Netanyahu listed his other priorities as signing an historic defense treaty with the United States, Israel 's key ally, and eradicating the Iranian threat, without elaborating on his plan for Tehran.

He has repeatedly committed to preventing the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon and has not ruled out the use of force.

He has also acted to push back Iranian forces and active allies in neighboring Syria.

Israel routinely fires missiles at what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where elite Iranian forces and allied militia play a key role in the country's conflict.

Netanyahu on Sunday said that his fourth immediate goal if he wins another term - despite facing trial on multiple corruption charges - would be major economic reform to bring down Israel's high cost of living.

After inconclusive elections in April and September, the latest opinion polls put Netanyahu from the right and his centrist rival side by side in Monday's vote.