Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to the West Bank on Tuesday to celebrate Washington’s announcement that it does not consider Israeli settlements to violate international law.
Speaking at a gathering of ecstatic supporters and settler leaders in Alon Shvut, a settlement outside of Jerusalem, Netanyahu called the Trump administration’s declaration a “huge achievement” that “fixed a historic wrong.”
“I think it is a great day for the state of Israel and an achievement that will remain for decades,” he said.
Later Tuesday, Netanyahu said the US decision “gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to annex the Jordan Valley, an area in the West Bank seen as the breadbasket of a Palestinian state.
In a video, he called on his political rivals, with whom he is currently in coalition talks, to form a unity government and make annexing the area its first priority.
The Palestinians, who claim the West Bank as part of a future state, condemned the US decision. They and other countries said the move undercuts any chances of a broader peace deal.
Over 400,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 settlers in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian’s hoped-for capital.
The Palestinians and the international community say that settlements are illegal and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.