[‘breaking news’] Netanyahu election Gideon Sa’ar rival commits to suspension of West Bank annexation

Gideon Sa'ar (Gil Cohen - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 12, 2021

The leader of Israel’s Tikva Hadasha (New Hope) party, Gideon Sa’ar, has said that he will respect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to suspend annexation plans in the occupied West Bank if he becomes his successor after the next election.

“If I become the new prime minister of Israel, I will fulfil the commitment that Netanyahu has given from Israel to the United States administration,” he was quoted by i24 News as saying.

Speaking in an online meeting with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy [linked to AIPAC], Sa’ar stressed that the idea of imposing Israeli sovereignty over the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank remains an “Israeli goal”. However, he added, Netanyahu had pledged to the US administration that he will suspend such a move for a “number of years”.

Sa’ar, who is currently vying to become prime minister in next month’s General Election, was Israel’s education minister and then interior minister from 2009 to 2014. He served as a Knesset member for Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party from 2003 to 2014, before he left the party to lead the New Hope party.