Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, following the so-called “Six Day War”.
It has since installed 500,000 Jewish settlers in the territory, but has never formally claimed it as Israeli territory due to strong international opposition.
However, the Donald Trump administration has taken a more accommodating position towards Israeli settlements compared to its predecessors.
Trump’s Middle East team is hegemonized by advisers with strong ties to Zionist ideologues and settlements, and his plan for the Middle East, unveiled in January, predicts that at least 30% of the territory will be permanently annexed by Israel, granting empowered Palestinians in the remaining areas.
The Palestinians have already rejected the plan after considering it unfair and favoring the expansionist goals of the Jewish state.
In view of the uncertainty of a Trump re-election in the November presidential elections, the ultra-right wing of Israeli power urged the prime minister to speed up the process of annexation.
The new coalition agreement between the leader of the Likud and Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White alliance, includes an official clause that allows Netanyahu to present its annexation plan to the government in July.
According to Israeli media, the prime minister reportedly told Likud members that there is “a key date for July and there is no intention to change it”, but the quote was not immediately confirmed, the agency said. Associated Press (AP) news.
The plan has already motivated divergent positions in Washington.
Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s more than likely candidate for the November 3 US presidential election, said recently that the annexation would “eliminate” hopes for a two-state solution.
A few days ago, 18 Democratic senators warned in a letter that the annexation could damage ties between the United States and Israel.
European Union (EU) head of diplomacy, Josep Borrel, said the annexation violated international law and promised to use “all of our diplomatic capabilities” to stop it.
Saudi Arabia, an influential Arab country that has relations with Israel behind the scenes, has announced its “rejection of measures of Israeli plans to annex Palestinian lands”.
The Arab League defined annexation as a “war crime” and Egypt and Jordan – the only two Arab countries that signed peace agreements with Israel – also criticized.
Netanyahu spoke a day after appearing in a court charged with crimes of corruption.
The prime minister issued harsh criticisms of the country’s judicial system after arriving at the court when he accused the police, prosecutors and the media of conspiracy to remove him from power. Outside the building, parallel demonstrations for and against the Prime Minister took place.
Today, speaking to Likud members, Netanyahu said he was “very moved” by the support.
Critical voices have already said that these attacks on the justice system risk “undermining the country’s democratic foundations”.