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EU reacts to Netanyahu's plans to annex Jordan Valley, calls any settlement 'illegal'

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EU reacts to Netanyahu's plans to annex Jordan Valley, calls any settlement 'illegal'
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REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday his plans to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank as an election promise if he wins next time.

"Today, I announce my intention, after the establishment of a new government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live on Israeli TV channels.

The prime minister said, however, that the move would be done after publication of a long-awaited US peace plan and consultations with US President Donald Trump.

Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. The main Palestinian city is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.

For their part, the EU said they did not recognise any changes made to the pre-1967 borders and called any settlement plans "illegal under international law".

An EU spokesperson told Euronews:

"As reaffirmed in numerous Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, the EU will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.

"The policy of settlement construction and expansion, including in East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for lasting peace."

Arab ministers also condemned Netanyahu's plan of annexation, calling it an "aggression" that undermines any chances of a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

The Arab League "considers his announcement a dangerous development and a new Israeli aggression by declaring the intention to violate the international law," Arab foreign ministers said in a statement after a meeting in Cairo.

"The league regards these statements as undermining the chances of any progress in the peace process and will torpedo all its foundations," the statement said.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Twitter called Netanyahu's plan a "serious escalation". Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel.

Washington has not yet given a comment.

WATCH: Israeli political consultant Dahlia Scheindlin told Euronews the move was not last-minute electioneering