For a sustainable peace

Friday, 2020-06-26 16:58:33
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A boy holds a Palestinian flag during a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Beta village near Nablus June 12, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – More than 1,000 European parliamentarians from across political lines strongly opposed Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank in a recently published letter. They expressed “serious concerns” about the US proposal to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict which would allow Israel to annex 30% of West Bank territory.

The European parliamentarians’ call was made as the clock counted down to the day Tel Aviv is planning to annex parts of the West Bank. In order to demonstrate Europe’s long-term commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the parliamentarians called on leaders to act decisively and respond to the challenges faced.

Legislators said that Europe needs to take the lead in mobilising countries to unite together to block Tel Aviv’s plan, amid Israel and the US shadowing the prospect of peace in the Middle East. Many European countries have strongly opposed Israel’s move to jeopardise a two-state solution, the European Union (EU) has even discussed the possibility of imposing economic sanctions against Tel Aviv.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Israel to abandon its plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning this would threaten the prospect of peace with the Palestinians. “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibility of a renewal of negotiations”, the UN Secretary-General told the UN Security Council.

The Arab League have also opposed Israel’s plan, asserting that if the annexation is implemented, it will shatter the relationship between Israel and Arab countries. During a recent visit to the West Bank, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned that the annexation would “kill” any hope of a two-state solution, ruining all the foundations of the peace process as well as depriving all the people of the region the right to live in safety, peace and stability.

The opposition of the international community has increased in the context that Israel is urgently preparing to annex parts of the West Bank on July 1. Despite pressure from international public opinion, senior US aides and President Trump had a meeting to consider whether a “green light” should be given to Israel's plan. This plan, which is part of the US President’s proposal on a “Deal of the Century” for the conflict in the Middle East, has been strongly opposed by Palestine.

The US’ support for Israel and its recognition that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital caused a “fire of anger” among Palestinians. The Palestinian government has suspended all commitments and agreements reached with both Israel and the US, including security coordination, and rejected Washington’s mediating role in the Middle East peace process.

Thousands of Palestinians recently joined the largest march in recent times to protest against President Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which includes Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. Attending the event were diplomats from China, Russia, Japan and the EU, showing the support of the international community for the Palestinians.

At a recent online conference, the international community pledged US$130 million in funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in 2020. This is a practical action, showing solidarity to help Palestinians overcome their difficulties.

Although Israeli leaders and senior officials have recently mentioned the possibility of delaying the annexation plan in the West Bank, the actual moves that Israel is taking show that this “ambition” continues to be at the forefront of their activities. The Israeli army have recently placed cement blocks on the road in West Bank villages connected to the highway leading to the Jordan Valley, a move that Palestinians considered to be a blockage of their full access to these areas. The Palestinian side alleged that Israeli settlers have levelled much of the Palestinian land in the West Bank in preparation for the construction of a new large ring road in East Jerusalem, connecting Israeli settlements in the north and south of the city.

Israel’s plan to annex the occupied territory of the Palestinian people is posing a huge potential risk to peace in the region. Advancing efforts to stop this conspiracy have shown that the international community is supporting Palestinian people in fulfilling their dream of establishing an independent state with the capital being East Jerusalem, moving towards a long-term and sustainable peace in the Middle East.