According to the coalition agreement, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu could have parts of the West Bank annexed from Wednesday. But much is still unclear.
BERLIN taz For months, July 1st has been eagerly awaited in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. According to the coalition agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may take steps to announce the annexation of parts of the West Bank starting Wednesday. It can implement its plans by cabinet decision or with a parliamentary majority.
However: It is still completely unclear which areas are involved. The basis for annexation of Palestinian territories is the controversial Middle East plan, which the US government presented in January – a Trump vision that envisages a still-to-be-created rump state of Palestine and an enlarged Israel. It is considered impossible that the plan will ever be implemented. However, Netanjahu wants – in consultation with the US administration – to anilaterally annex parts of the West Bank.
On the one hand, the approximately thirty percent of the West Bank that are provided for in Trump’s plan are under discussion. That would mean: the Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley. An annexation on a smaller scale is more likely, however. So reported the Times of Israelthat initially only the three large settlement blocks Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Gusch Etzion should be declared Israeli territory.
The settlements are illegal under international law because they are located in occupied territory that the Palestinians claim for their own state. Israel occupied the West Bank after an Arab war of aggression in 1967.
While the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah rejects any annexation, the issue is also controversial within the Israeli government. Defense Secretary Benny Gantz of Blau-Weiß said on Monday that he wanted to postpone the plans because of Corona, whereupon Netanyahu only remarked: “The issue does not depend on blue-and-white.” One is in agreement with the United States. US envoy Avi Berkowitz traveled to Israel at the beginning of the week to discuss the issue. An Israeli-American team had previously started mapping the area.
Israel’s plan is controversial internationally. “Annexation is illegal. Point, ”said UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on Monday. The Bundestag wants to advise on Wednesday. A draft application states that annexation contradicts international law. Like the EU, Germany is committed to a two-state solution. In general, the willingness to a limited area swap is a prerequisite for this – but after negotiations, not after unilaterally declared steps.