International Condemnation and Rejection of Israel’s Annexation Plan

Certainly, Israel’s annexation of the West Bank will eliminate all possibilities for the establishment of a geographically connected Palestinian state, in addition to the implementation of measures and procedures for a strict military separation.

Written by: Naser Damaj

Israel has sent the world numerous messages, stating that it is fully prepared to begin annexing 60% of the occupied West Bank, with a population of approximately 3 million Palestinians. Israel has continued to implement its plan targeting Palestinians’ presence by confiscating their lands to construct and expand Israeli settlements, confiscating resources and capabilities and Palestinian money and funding and destroying the Palestinian economy.

On 15.01.2020, the Israeli occupying forces announced the establishment of seven natural reserves and the expansion of 12 others in C areas in the occupied West Bank. This Israeli project, which is yet to be implemented, comes under the pretext of preserving nature reserves and aims to annex the West Bank, isolate Jerusalem from its surroundings, and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state that is geographically connected and viable. These areas included in this project are: The Cave of Candles near the village of Beit Surik in the outskirts of occupied Jerusalem, Wadi Al-Maqlaq on the eastern slopes of Mount Olives in the holy city of occupied Jerusalem, Wadi Al-Fari’a in the Tubas Governorate, Wadi Malha in the Jordan Valley, northern part of Jordan valley and the southern Jordan River.  

The Minister of the Israeli Army, Naftali Bennett, approved the construction of a new road near the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, despite the strong international rejection and condemnation, especially Europe’s continued rejection of Israel’s annexation of large areas of land surrounding occupied Jerusalem, including the contentious E1 area, which would result in the isolation of Palestinian areas from each other and separate the middle and north of the West Bank from the south.

In light of this development, the reactions of the countries worldwide were divided into two. The first was embodied by the United States of America, which supported and encouraged Israel’s plans. This was repeatedly expressed by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, where he urged Israel to annex what it wants from the occupied Palestinian Territories to its sovereignty and submit them to Israeli laws. This was confirmed by the U.S. Secretary of State before him, who considered this same issue an internal Israeli affair, while pledging to stand by Israel’s side if it decided to do so. The second was embodied by the European Union countries after more than 50 former European leaders signed, on 27.02.2020, including former presidents and heads of ministries and foreign ministers, an open letter of rejection and condemnation of the annexation and the so-called “Deal of the Century.” The letter, published in The Guardian Newspaper, criticized the U.S.’s plan for allowing Israeli annexation of settlements and creating a situation it said was tantamount to apartheid. The letter also stated that it: “contradicts internationally agreed parameters for the Middle East peace process, relevant UN resolutions, including security council resolution 2334, and the most fundamental principles of international law. Instead of promoting peace, it risks fueling the conflict – at the expense of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, and with grave implications for Jordan and the wider region.” It further stated: “The plan allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimizes and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity. It recognizes only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It projects a future Palestinian ‘state’ without control and sovereignty over its fragmented territory. The map featured in the plan proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s Bantustans.”

Certainly, Israel’s annexation of the West Bank will eliminate all possibilities for the establishment of a geographically connected Palestinian state, in addition to the implementation of measures and procedures for a strict military separation. This plan will also lead to the destruction of the existing road and street network and the construction of a new road, which will double the internal pressure on the Palestinians. Moreover, it will also cause the separation of more than 300,000 Palestinians from the territories that will be included in the annexation from their social environment, political space and economic workspace, as the majority of them are workers and investors in the agricultural field; thus, leading to the restriction of their economic interaction within the settlements and the Israeli labor market. Therefore, it will result in an increase in the number of settlers and the expansion of the Israeli investment base in the Jordan Valley at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people and landowners. In addition, the water resources and fertile agricultural lands in the same region will be subject to Israeli laws, including the Law for the Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria, 5777-2017, which allows the occupying forces to control the properties of the absentees in C area, especially the properties they claim to be public property, as well as private properties. There is also the Greater Jerusalem Bill which enacted the de facto annexation of major settlement blocs for occupied Jerusalem, such as Ma’ale Adumim and two other settlement blocs, that lie on 175 km2 of land in the occupied Jerusalem Governorate, which is 140% larger than the area of the city of Jerusalem itself, including its western and eastern sides.

The implementation of Israel’s plans, targeting Palestinians’ presence, calls on the Palestinian people to show more caution and prudence, continue collective and unified action to confront this plan that threatens the Palestinian cause and delineate an effective response strategy that curbs the consequences of Israeli arbitrariness, led by a formal and popular move to stop Israeli violations. It is also necessary to call on the international community to desist from making statements that are not politically productive and to take effective measures to prevent the occupying forces from exploiting the current global health and economic crisis to implement its plans to annex the rest of the occupied Palestinian Territories. Furthermore, it is crucial to start a process of real accountability of the occupying power for all its crimes against the Palestinian people in order to end the Israeli occupation and recognize the state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with its capital as Jerusalem.

The European Union and its member countries have a great responsibility to take punitive measures in the case that the Israeli government implements its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, especially since the EU is Israel’s largest trading partner, grants Israel favored trading status and helps fund Israeli scientific research and development through its massive Horizon 2020 program.

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor. 



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