Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Tuesday that he would move to annex much of the occupied West Bank if voters return him to power in the election next week, a change that could dramatically reshape the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The move would give the nation “secure, permanent borders” for the first time in its history, he said. But it would also reduce any future Palestinian state to an enclave encircled by Israel.
Mr. Netanyahu said he wanted to seize what he called the “unique, one-off opportunity” afforded him by the Trump administration, which has expressed openness to Israeli annexation of at least parts of the West Bank.
“We haven’t had such an opportunity since the Six Day War, and I doubt we’ll have another opportunity in the next 50 years,” Mr. Netanyahu said at a news conference in Ramat Gan. “Give me the power to guarantee Israel’s security. Give me the power to determine Israel’s borders.”
Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war. Most of the world considers it occupied territory and Israeli settlements there to be illegal.
Battling for political survival, and in a dead heat or slightly behind in the polls against Benny Gantz, a centrist former army chief of staff, Mr. Netanyahu has tried mightily to shift the focus of the contest from the corruption cases against him to his strong suit: national security.
He has highlighted Israel’s increasingly overt military campaign against Iranian expansion and even unveiled a new site where he said Iran had pursued nuclear weapons….