Saudi king condemns Netanyahu pledge in call with Abbas

Saudi king condemns Netanyahu pledge in call with Abbas

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RIYADH (AFP) – King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia s condemnation of the Israeli prime minister s pre-election pledge to annex part of the West Bank, in a phone call Thursday with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Battling to win re-election in September 17 polls, Netanyahu issued a deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday to annex the strategic Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a third of the occupied West Bank.

He also repeated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank, but in coordination with US President Donald Trump.

“The king reiterated… Saudi Arabia s condemnation and categorical rejection of the Israeli prime minister s declaration on his intention to annex lands from the West Bank,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The king also said Netanyahu s pledge marked a “very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people” and was a “flagrant violation” of UN and international laws, SPA added.

Netanyahu s moves could essentially destroy any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His pledge has drawn firm condemnation from the Palestinians, the United Nations, the European Union and Arab states.

At Saudi Arabia s request, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — a 57-member pan-Islamic body — said it will hold an emergency foreign ministers  meeting on Sunday to discuss an “Israeli escalation”.

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