8 July 2020   Leave a comment

On 1 July, the government of Israel self-declared the authority to annex substantial parts of the Occupied West Bank. Most governments and international law do not recognize that right. Since the West Bank was occupied by Israel in the 1967 war, the world determined that the region was only occupied because the UN Charter, which Israel signed, no longer recognizes a right of “conquest”. Since 1967, Israel has slowly exercised sovereignty over some of those Occupied Territories such as the Golan Heights (taken from Syria) and East Jerusalem (taken from Jordan). And there are about 400,000 Israeli citizens living in settlements in the West Bank (also taken from Jordan in the 1967 war).

Prime Minister Netanyahu has pushed hard for the annexation, but plans have been delayed because of Netanyahu’s legal troubles as well as the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. Most of the European states are opposed to the annexation, largely because it vitiates the possibility of a two-state solution, the preferred course of action for most of the European governments. The US has indicated that it does not yet favor outright annexation because it is waiting to see a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The US position is disingenuous because there is no possibility that the negotiations will resume nor will the Trump Administration oppose an outright Israeli annexation.

We do not know how the annexation will proceed–Israel has not made its plans clear. Jonathan Kuttab has written a speculative, but well-reasoned, essay on some possible implications of the Israeli annexation, but the map below clearly indicates that a viable Palestinian state is impossible after annexation. Beyond that matter are other serious issues such as the status of Palestinians living in annexed areas. Prime Minister Netanyahu has already declared that those Palestinians will not be offered Israeli citizenship. They will, nonetheless, be ruled by Israeli law.

That outcome is illegitimate, but also unsustainable. Political, economic, and social control over a people who have no equal voice in their governance is wrong and cannot be supported. The proposed annexation will undermine Israeli democracy and other states, including the US, should question whether they can continue to support the Israeli government.

Map showing region of the Jordan Valley which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex, if he wins the September elections, along with the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Posted July 8, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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