ARDD’s Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine (GNQP) launched the third position in its series on the Question of Palestine amid COVID-19. This position paper focuses on the announced illegal Israeli plan to annex considerable parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. The planned annexation occurs at a time when the Israeli government continues to implement its arbitrary policies against the Palestinians, and is particularly timed to take advantage of the state of emergency and consequent crisis created by the COVID-19 outbreak to advance Israeli plans with impunity.
One of the outcomes of recent developments in US policy towards Palestine is the Peace to Prosperity Plan, also known as the Deal of the Century, which was drafted without any Palestinian input or representation and was drafted in blatant disregard of international law and bilateral agreements reached between Israel and the PLO. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to begin annexing parts of the occupied West Bank as early as July 1.
The Paper reviewed the legal, political and moral developments around the announced annexation and their implications since the publication of the Deal of the Century on 28 January 2020, by the Trump Administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The anticipated annexation of considerable parts of the West Bank, along with the establishment and enforcement of distinctions, exclusions, restrictions and limitations, exclusively based on ethnic origin is similar to the situation in South Africa during apartheid and are considered a flagrant violation of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and a blatant disregard to the International Humanitarian Norms. Furthermore, annexation undermines the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Annexation would establish permanent Israeli sovereignty over Palestinian land and other natural resources, such as water. "Palestinians' right to self-determination would be irredeemably undermined by territorial acquisition of parts of the West Bank by force. Not only do the acts perpetrated by Israel amount to grave violations of international law, they also demonstrate a lack of moral considerations and willingness for equality and coexistence.
According to the Paper Annexation is bound to lead to a cessation of negotiations between the Israeli government and the PA, unattainability of the two-state solution and a continuation of gross violations of international law. Meanwhile, tensions inside the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, and between Jordan and Israel are mounting, raising security concerns and uncertainties for Palestinians and Israelis alike, as well as for the broader region. In order to prevent and reverse implementation of illegal activities on the ground, a clear unified message – encapsulating consequences – is fundamental to reach Israel and compel its government to desist from further violations.
The Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine therefore presented several recommendations to the international community including Opposing the annexation, supported by a UN Security Council resolution acknowledging it as a violation of international humanitarian law, and establishment of a special UN peacekeeping envoy with a clear mandate to address the settler colonialism project, apartheid regime and occupation, Label the regime institutionalized by Israel as apartheid and ensure implementation of the relevant international law provisions and UN resolutions through economic sanctions, in addition to banning arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel, including suspension of free-trade agreements. Establish an independent committee from the Arab World to coordinate with the Security Council to address the protection needs of protracted crises in the region – specifically for Jordan, Lebanon and Occupied Palestine, Reject the “Deal of the Century” and all illegal Israeli acts engendered by this plan and accelerate recognition of the State of Palestine and grant it full membership in the United Nations.