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‘You will never break our will’: Palestinians to Netanyahu after annexation pledge

Palestinians tilling the fertile Jordan Valley said on Wednesday they have been rooted for generations to the West Bank land that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex, and they vowed never to give it up.

“We tell Netanyahu, and whoever follows him, you will not break the Palestinians’ will, you will never break our will, never, never,” said Hassan Al-Abedi, a 55-year-old farmer who lives in the village of Jiftlik.

“It’s our parents’ and grandparents’ land. We will hold onto it no matter what it costs.”

The right-wing Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he plans to “apply Israeli sovereignty” to the Jordan Valley and adjacent northern Dead Sea if he prevails in what is shaping up as a tough battle for re-election on Sept. 17.

The plan drew condemnation from Arab leaders and from Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in all of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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The office of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the plan “would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

Palestinian leaders said it would also effectively nullify interim peace deals from the 1990s that included security cooperation.

Against the backdrop of Jordan’s desert mountain range to the east, Palestinian farmers tended their crops and worried about their future in an area where the town of Jericho and the River Jordan are reminders of a biblical past.

“This is not Netanyahu’s land to give,” said Ismael Hassan, a 75-year-old Palestinian from Zbeidat village. “Whether or not Netanyahu succeeds (in the election) we won’t accept it. This land is for Palestine, for the Palestinians.”

In Israel, which captured the West Bank in a 1967 war, Netanyahu’s declaration was widely seen as a bid to sap support from far-right election rivals who advocate annexation of Jewish settlements, and from a center-left that for decades has argued that the Jordan Valley should be kept on security grounds.

( Source: reuters )

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