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Netanyahu urges opposition to unite to annex Jordan Valley

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Tuesday for a united government to go ahead with plans for the annexation of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.

Mr Netanyahu demanded that his political rival Ben Grantz and former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman come together in a "broad unity government that will safeguard the security of Israel and annex the Jordan Valley."

Earlier, the prime minister also backed a Bill to annex the Jordan Valley which is being advanced in the Israeli parliament.

Mr Netanyahu’s appeal was presented a day before yesterday’s deadline for political parties to agree on a coalition government.

The Jordan Valley covers about one-third of the Palestinian West Bank. Although within Palestinian territory, the Valley is already facing occupation by Israel with areas such as the Dead Sea used for Israel tourism.

Ahead of the most recent general election in September, Mr Netanyahu promised to “apply Israeli sovereignty” in the area if he was to be re-elected.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the Israeli state the green light to grab land in the West Bank, declaring that Washington no longer viewed Israeli settlements as a violation of international law.

Mr Netanyahu cited the US’s decision during his call to Israeli politicians.

"The historic decision by the American administration [on Monday] hands us a unique opportunity to set Israel’s eastern border and annex the Jordan Valley," he told reporters.

Meanwhile today, Israel said it struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria in retaliation for rockets fired by Iranian troops into the Golan Heights a day earlier.

Syrian official reports stated that two civilians were killed in the attacks.

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