Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a third of the already illegally occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, will begin annexing, in line with US President Donald’s controversial “Middle East plan” Trump.
The plan, announced in January, aims to establish a demilitarized Palestinian state in a mosaic of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.
This does not include busy East Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority (AP) claims as the capital of a state it seeks.
Trump’s Middle East plan has been met largely with skepticism and was rejected by Palestinian leaders, but Israel has taken it as a show of support for his plans to seize and extend his sovereignty over the occupied land.
What does annexation mean?
Annexation is a term used when a state unilaterally incorporates other territory within its borders.
Annexing the Jordan Valley would mean that Israel would officially consider it part of its state.
“International law is very clear: annexation and territorial conquest are prohibited by the United Nations Charter,” said Michael Lynk, an independent UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories.
West Bank iIt’s seen as occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as planned annexation, illegal.
The United States has rejected the consensus that Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are illegal.
“Decisions about Israelis that extend sovereignty to those places are decisions that must be made by Israelis,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters last week.
What has been the international reaction?
The United Nations and the European Union say the plans threaten the possibility of reaching a peace agreement in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Arab countries have also warned that the planned annexation could affect security in the region.
What are the consequences?
The planned Israeli annexation would deprive Palestinians of agricultural land and key water resources, especially in the Jordan Valley region.
It would also effectively kill the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that was based on the idea of land for peace.
But many Palestinians would argue that annexation is simply a formality because of what has already been happening on the ground in the occupied West Bank for years.
Increased settlement construction in recent years, along with roads only for Jewish settlers connecting to Israel, have divided the territory, resulting in non-contiguous Palestinian cities, towns, and villages that now exist in the cantons. .
How has the Palestinian leadership reacted?
Mohammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), called the annexation plans a “existential threat” and said that the Palestinians will respond with their own measures.
In May 2019, the Palestinian Authority said it will cancel all bilateral agreements with Israel and the United States.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki warned that any annexation would be a “crime” and would have immediate and tangible repercussions.
The Gaza-based Hamas government has called for unity among the Palestinians and popular acts of resistance against Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.