Turkey says 'irresponsible' Netanyahu cannot annex West Bank settlements after election

Turkish foreign minister says Israeli occupation of the West Bank breaches international law

West Bank, Children play football beside the separation wall that separate Jerusalem from west bank in Qalandia refugee camp
Photo by, Jamal Aruri

Turkey has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “irresponsible” for saying he would annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if he won Tuesday’s election.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was Palestinian territory and Israel’s occupation breached international law.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s irresponsible statement to seek votes just before the Israeli general elections cannot and will not change this fact,” Mr Cavusoglu tweeted.

Palestinian leaders also reacted angrily to Mr Netanyahu's remarks, blaming a failure by world powers to stand up for international law.

On Saturday, the Israeli prime minister said he was discussing the move to declare Israeli sovereignty over large West Bank settlements, as he had done in the occupied Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

“I am going to extend sovereignty and I don’t distinguish between settlement blocks and the isolated settlements,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 News.

On Sunday, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan echoed Palestine's criticism of world governments.

“Will western democracies react or will they keep appeasing? Shame on them all,” Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.

Mr Erdogan, whose party has led Turkey for 16 years, has criticised the administration of US President Donald Trump over its support for Israel, including Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem last year.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to form the capital of a future state. Peace talks with Israel have been frozen since 2014.