Netanyahu says he will annex Hebron

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will annex Hebron and the adjacent West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba.

He made the statement on Monday morning during an interview with Army Radio, 24 hours before the opening of the polls for national elections in Israel.

Netanyahu was responding to a question from Army Radio host Efi Triger, who asked if Kiryat Arba and the Jewish community in Hebron would be annexed. Netanyahu’s response was: “Of course. They will be part of Israel. But I need a mandate to execute this plan.”

The response comes days after Netanyahu promised to apply sovereignty to all West Bank settlements, though he said he would first wait for the unveiling of the Trump administration’s peace plan. He also promised in a Thursday night statement carried on television to annex the Jordan Valley.

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Netanyahu visited Hebron earlier this month for a ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of the massacre of Jews in Hebron, a mostly Palestinian city about 18 miles from Jerusalem.

At the ceremony Netanyahu vowed that Hebron “will never be empty of Jews,” but did not announce any new Jewish building in Hebron or suggest applying sovereignty over the city, as many expected he would.