Israel’s Annexation of Palestinian Lands – Disaster for Both Peoples

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday, May 19, his decision to immediately withdraw from all agreements, including security guarantees, between the PLO and Israel and between his organization and the United States, as a result of the Israeli government’s intention to annex Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.

Addressing senior Palestinian leadership, Abbas declared that Israel’s unilateral annexation policy constitutes an annulment of the Oslo Accords and that, as a result, “the Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved of all the agreements with the American and Israeli governments and of all commitments, including the security ones.”

In his announcement Abbas called for the convening of an international conference to achieve a two-state solution within the framework of international law.

Palestinians protest in Nablus against Israel's plans to annex parts of the occupied West Ban, May 14, 2020. The large banner reads, in part "… Jerusalem is ours and the land is ours; [We are ] staying here; the [US-Israeli] 'Deal of the Century' will not pass."

Palestinians protest in Nablus against Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Ban, May 14, 2020. The large banner reads, in part “… Jerusalem is ours and the land is ours; [We are ] staying here; the [US-Israeli] ‘Deal of the Century’ will not pass.” (Photo: Activestills)

“The annexation of the West Bank will be a catastrophe for both the Palestinians and Israelis, as well as a serious violation of international law,” Hadash MK Youssef Jabareen (Joint List), told Sputnik on Wednesday, May 20. “Abbas had no choice but to make a statement yesterday evening,” Jabareen said.

According to the Hadash MK, Israel’s government has for years violated the Oslo Accords, a set of agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization that were signed in 1993 and 1995 and are considered the cornerstone of peace between the two nations. “The Israeli government has breached the Oslo agreements for many years and seeks to avoid any possibility of finding a solution involving two states. [US President Donald Trump’s] ‘Deal of the Century’ and the fact that the US intends to recognize Israel’s annexation of the West Bank have proven that the US is not a fair-minded mediator to resolve this issue,” Jabareen said.

With the backing of the United States, the annexation of Israel settlements in the West Bank and roads connecting them to Israel within the Green Line, as well as most of the Jordan Valley, was among the top policies promulgated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the last year’s electoral campaigns. His former rival but now partner in the new unity government, Benny Gantz, has come out in support of the plan. In his first speech to the Knesset as Defense Minister and “Alternate Prime Minister,” Sunday, May 17, Blue & White’s leader didn’t lay out any alternative path, nor did he even relate to the planned annexation or offer a different vision. In doing so, Gantz allowed Netanyahu alone to speak for the entire government.

In a letter address to all Israeli MKs, the pro-two-state and anti-occupation Israeli-Palestinian movement Combatants for Peace has warned Knesset members that they may be committing a crime under international law if they vote for unilateral annexation. According to the coalition agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz, such a vote can be brought before the Knesset starting July 1. “We suggest that you consult with an independent, unbiased legal expert before casting your vote,” Combatants for Peace’s attorney advised each and every MK. “As is well known,” the letter said, “in some countries, there is universal jurisdiction [meaning that parties accused of committing international crimes may be detained and tried in such a country after their arrival there] as well as other and varied legal options for imposing sanctions, like prohibiting entry visas, confiscation of personal property, or a prohibition on business with human rights and international law violators. There is already a list of Israeli public figures who refrain from visiting certain countries around the world.”

Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) have called peace and human rights organization to participate in a mass rally against annexation and occupation of the Palestinian territories to be held in central Tel Aviv, on Saturday evening, June 6, 2020.