Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will begin annexing part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank if he is re-elected to a fourth straight term. Such a move would be a sharp departure from long-standing Israeli government policy.

Netanyahu made the pledge in a television interview Saturday, three days before Israel's election, in a bid to shore up his right-wing base. His comments were carried by Israeli websites.

Netanyahu mentioned the recent U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights as an achievement. Asked by Channel 12 about annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he said that "we're on the way" and that "the next term (in office) will be fateful."

More than 600,000 Israelis live on war-won land, two-thirds of them in the West Bank.