ANKARA

Turkey on Wednesday termed Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank and Jordan Valley regions of Palestine as an “extension of its occupation policy”.

“The announcement of Israel’s newly established government at the oath-taking ceremony to annex the settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley is an extension to Israel’s occupation policy that ignores international law,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.

He said the international community should put a stop to this reckless approach, adding that those who support this policy, whether directly or tacitly, are equal partners to this crime.

Kalin said there is no legitimacy of any plan and initiative that ignores the Palestinian people.

Ankara strongly rejects steps to change the religious, historical and legal status of Jerusalem, he said, noting that under the strong leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey will continue to support the legitimate right of the Palestinian people.

“Jerusalem is our red line. Jerusalem is our sanctuary. Jerusalem is our trust. Anyone who betrays the trust will be accountable before the history.

“Muslim countries should take urgent steps on this issue and protect the Palestinian people and their lands against Israel’s occupation and annexation policy,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Kalin tweeted: “We reject Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank and call for the world to take a stand against it. Occupation and annexation is a crime.”

He said Turkey will support all steps and measures to stop the “further theft” of Palestinian lands.

According to Israeli plans, the annexation will take place on July 1, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new-found ally Benny Gantz, the head of Blue and White party.

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

The annexation comes as part of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, which was announced on 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 through 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.

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