RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday called for international recognition of the Palestinian state if Israel annexed the occupied West Bank.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of a cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said the Jordan Valley, which Israel plans to annex, makes up 28% of the West Bank.

“The Jordan Valley is considered a ‘vegetable basket’ for Palestine and our connecting point with Jordan and the world,” he said.

He said a strong position by the Arab world, Africa and Europe “would be sufficient to rein in Israel”.

Israel is expected to carry out the annexation on July 1, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of Blue and White party Benny Gantz.

Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with the annexation plans, which will undermine the two-state solution.

US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” plan was announced Jan. 28. It refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank.

The plan states the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected by bridges and tunnels.

Palestinian officials say that under the US plan, Israel will annex 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem.

The plan has drawn widespread criticism from the Arab world and was rejected by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which urged “all member states not to engage with this plan or to cooperate with the US administration in implementing it in any form.”

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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