Netanyahu in Congress.

Netanyahu in Congress.

Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a Palestinian state will not be established on his watch if he is re-elected.

In an interview published Monday, Mr Netanyahu said that withdrawing from occupied areas to make way for a Palestinian state would only ensure that territory will be taken over by Islamic extremists.

When asked if that means a Palestinian state will not be established if he is elected, Mr Netanyahu said “indeed”.

His comments come a day before a March 17 election that is viewed as a vote of confidence in Mr Netanyahu, whose Likud Party is trailing the centrist Zionist Union in recent polls.

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The Islamic militant group Hamas took over two years later and escalated attacks on Israel.

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