By Kaamil Ahmed
JERUSALEM (AA) – An Israeli government minister has called for Palestinians to be expelled from parts of the occupied West Bank currently under full Israeli control.
In a Wednesday interview with the Times of Israel website, controversial Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said Israel should annex "Area C" -- the 60 percent of the West Bank in which Palestinians have no authority under the terms of the Oslo Accords.
Signed in 1993, the accords were ostensibly meant to provide a framework for a "two-state solution" to the perennial Arab-Israeli dispute.
Ariel, who publicly opposes an independent state of Palestine, claimed Israel should instead earmark $2.6 billion to go towards raising living standards for Palestinians in other parts of the West Bank.
Naftali Bennet, leader of Ariel's Jewish Home party, has previously called for the entire West Bank to be formally annexed by Israel.
Some 400,000 Israeli settlers currently live in Area C -- an almost 300,000 increase since the Oslo Accords were signed.
Ongoing illegal settlement building by Israel is seen as a major impediment to a future Palestine-Israel peace deal.