Arab League Slams Israeli Plan To Annex Occupied West Bank
The Arab League has condemned Israel’s controversial proposal to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying the move would constitute a “new war crime” against the Palestinians.
The remarks came in a joint statement issued by Arab foreign ministers on Thursday following a virtual conference chaired in Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
“The implementation of plans to annex any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including the Jordan Valley and the lands on which Israeli settlements are standing represents a new war crime against the Palestinian people,” said the statement.
Unveiled a controversial plan to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rejected by the Palestinians and condemned by much of the international community, the plan gives Israel the green light to annex Jewish settlements and other strategic territory in the West Bank.
An Israeli coalition government agreement reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz last week includes a framework for implementing the annexations outlined in the plan. Such annexations would violate international law.
During the Arab League meeting, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad alMalki said the annexation would “end the two-state solution”.
He said the move would “turn the battle from a political one to an endless religious war … that will never bring about stability, security or peace to our region”.
Last week, the United Nations special Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said such a move would be a “devastating blow” to the internationally-backed twostate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the European Union said annexing Palestinian territory “would constitute a serious violation of international law”.
On Monday, the US said it was ready to recognise Israel’s annexation of key parts of the West Bank, but also asked the new unity government to negotiate with the Palestinians.
Palestinian President Abbas says accords with Israel, US are void.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his administration considers all agreements signed with Israel and the United States null and void, after Israel declared it would annex parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local media reports.
Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas made the announcement during an emergency meeting held in Ramallah to discuss the Israeli plans.
“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas reportedly said.
“The Israeli occupation authority, as of today, has to shoulder all responsibilities and obligations in front of the international community as an occupying power over the territory of the occupied state of Palestine.”
Abbas threatened to withdraw from agreements back in February, after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East plan, which included the possibility of annexation.
“While he said that the PLO is no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel, he did not say that he is dissolving the Palestinian Authority,” Ibrahim said from Ramallah.
During his address, which was broadcast on Palestinian television, Abbas also said he was still ready to negotiate with Israel and remains committed to ending the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.
Speaking from Chicago, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada was sceptical about Abbas’ announcement.
“Mahmoud Abbas has announced I can’t remember how many times that he’s suspended this agreement or that agreement and the fact is that he’s never (actually) done that. He’s never (actually) suspended an agreement,” he said. “The reality is that the Palestinian Authority cannot move a salt shaker from one side of the table to another without the permission and help of the Israelis.”
Annexing parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley as part of Trump’s Middle East plan was a central promise of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest reelection campaign. His former political rivals-turned-allies Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi have also expressed their support of the plan.
Netanyahu was sworn into office for another term on Sunday, after more than 500 days without a stable government and three inconclusive elections.
Addressing the parliament before the vote, Netanyahu said his incoming government should apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.
“It’s time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu said on the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“These territories are where the Jewish nation was born and grew,” he said of the settlements.
Such a move will likely cause international uproar and inflame tensions in the West Bank..
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, warned Israel of a “massive conflict” if it went ahead with the plan, while the European Union’s foreign policy chief said EU would use “all our diplomatic capacities” to try to dissuade the new government from going ahead with the move.