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Israeli PM vows to 'extend sovereignty' to West Bank settlements

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Israeli PM vows to 'extend sovereignty' to West Bank settlements

At the conclusion of a four-day road trip in Iowa that included 17 town halls, 6 neighborhood house parties, and 5 college campuses, Democratic presidential contender Beto O'Rourke, who last November lost the senate race to Republican Ted Cruz, but came close, chose to go after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, possibly because Iowa farmers who wake up every morning to milk their cows are asking themselves if Bibi could beat Gantz, and what are the ramifications of the Israeli elections regarding their grain subsidies.

The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has warned his electorate base in an address given in Hebrew that the Israeli right is in danger of losing power on election day.

The Israeli prime minister was asked if he was familiar with the details of the U.S. plan, replying he knew "what should be in it".

Israel has held the West Bank since capturing it from Jordan in 1967 but despite allowing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to settle there, it has never extended its sovereignty beyond the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.

What happens to the settlements is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians - Palestinians say the presence of settlements makes a future independent state impossible.

If such a measure is tabled, Israel would pull out of Washington's plan, according to Netanyahu.

"I am going to extend sovereignty and I don't distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlements".

Netanyahu's remarks follow a series of announcements and policy changes by U.S. President Donald Trump that were seen to favour Israel.

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said Netanyahu's statement was "not surprising".

"Yet another example of how Netanyahu uses electoral politics to justify occupation and undermine the two-state solution", presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın wrote on Twitter. "We must control our destiny".

"Israel will continue to brazenly violate global law for as long as the worldwide community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration's support and endorsement of Israel's violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine", he said in a statement.

He also referred to Netanyahu as "your prime minister", prompting some criticism from the Jewish community.

During a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday, Trump told the gathered Americans: "I stood with your prime minister at the White House to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights".

Not only does he face a tough opponent in Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of Israel's military, but Netanyahu's administration has been dogged by corruption charges. Gantz, who heads the centrist Blue and White Party, will likely win the support of center-left and left-wing parties, but polls predict he will fall short of a governing majority in parliament.

Amona, an unauthorized Israeli outpost in the West Bank, is seen east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah, Nov. 16, 2016.

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