Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that the Palestinian leadership views, with utmost seriousness, Netanyahu’s declaration that he would annex illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“This is a clear announcement of intent to carry out a war crime, under the Rome statute, and a grave violation of the UN charter. It is also a practical translation of the racist so-called nation state law, adopted earlier this year by the Israeli Knesset,” she stated.

She said that Netanyahu’s pledge is an obvious attempt to score political points and secure votes from the extremist right-wing in the upcoming Israeli legislative elections while continuing the implementation of his policies to superimpose “Greater Israel” on all of historical Palestine.

“Such actions are enabled by the political, legal and financial cover from the current U.S administration, whose Ambassador, David Friedman, and envoy, Jason Greenblatt have both actively supported the illegal settlement enterprise and endorsed annexation.”

The settlement project remains the biggest blow to any chances of peace and stability. Its continuing theft of land and resources is clearly designed to prevent the Palestinian people from achieving their undeniable rights of independence, self-determination and freedom, said the statement.

In this context, the targeting of Jerusalem’s community center ‘Burj Al Luqluq’ and al-Isawiyya neighborhood, in occupied Jerusalem, in addition to the continued home demolitions, land grab and other measures in the city reflect Israel’s intentions to displace the indigenous Palestinian population and to erase their presence and culture, while altering the cultural and demographic composition of the city.

“The illegality of Israeli settlements and the status of Jerusalem as an occupied city are unambiguous in international law. The International community has an obligation to translate its commitment to international law into actions that defend against these Israeli actions. We call on all responsible international actors to adopt deterrent measures, including sanctions, to compel Israeli to cease its illegal actions and pervasive violations of international law and Palestinian national rights,” the statement concluded, according to WAFA.