Israel’s most powerful party calls for annexation of parts of West Bank

TEL AVIV, Israel — The strongest political party in Israel — the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — has called for the annexation of a large part of the West Bank.

Since the 1967 Six Day War, the West Bank has been occupied by Israel, which still controls large parts of it although it is regarded in international law as Palestinian territory.

More than a thousand members of the right-wing Likud adopted a resolution Sunday calling for Israel to exercise “sovereignty” over parts of the West Bank and for the continued building of Jewish settlements, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Settlements on occupied Palestinian territory are one of the most contentious aspects of the long-running and violent dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Just over a year ago, under President Barack Obama, the United States allowed passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank, calling the building a violation of international law.

President Donald Trump has lambasted that resolution, and has pursued a more pro-Israel line, most recently recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the face of international criticism.

The annexation resolution by the Likud central committee is not binding on the government, but puts more pressure on Netanyahu, who was not present at the meeting near Tel Aviv.

Most Likud ministers support the resolution, according to left-wing newspaper Haaretz, noting that Netanyahu did not use his authority to prevent the vote.

About 600,000 Israelis live in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians hope to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future state.

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