Israel Expected To Move Forward With Annexation Plans, Leaving Palestinians Hopeless

Israel plans to annex Palestinian territory as part of its 'peace plan', starting July 1st.

Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and subsequent occupation of their land has been an ongoing tragedy since at least 1948. Now with the latest developments in Israel’s policy of expansion and occupation, this historic land is set to  become even more divided. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to bring new annexation proposals of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea before the cabinet from 1 July.

So, what is annexation?

Annexation describes when one state unilaterally (without permission of the other) incorporates  neighboring territory from another state into its borders. Annexation is usually considered illegal according to international law.

No surprise, Prime Minister Netanyahu made things starkly clear, when on May 28 2020  he explained that if his government goes ahead with unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, thousands of Palestinian residents would be granted neither citizenship nor equal rights. 

The occupied Palestinian territories have been under Israeli military control since 1967, making it the longest ongoing occupation in modern history. The segmented territories include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Gaza Strip is a small coastal area bordering Egypt to the south, and the West Bank is the kidney bean-shaped area that lies west of the banks of the Jordan River, from where it gets its name. A total of 5 million people occupy these areas.

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

The Illegal Israeli Settlements:

Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built on Palestinian land. There are between 600,000 – 750,000 Israeli settlers living in at least 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; almost half of these settlements are not officially recognized by the state but have been established regardless

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

In 2019, the Trump administration declared that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land were “not necessarily illegal,” a substantial break from decades of US foreign policy.

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

The latest annexation plans to be confirmed by the Israeli prime minister would pose a serious threat to the Palestinians. The annexation of the Jordan Valley would completely surround the Palestinians with Israeli borders.  Currently, Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley receive 18 times more water on average than Palestinian residents in the West Bank; most Palestinian farmers are not connected to the water grid and have to rely on buying water from tankers. Annexation would mean that Palestinians would be physically cut off from the Jordan River, forcing Palestinians to be without a vital water source. This annexation would also pave the way for more settlements to be built; currently, any new  construction in the West Bank requires the approval of Israel’s defense minister and prime minister which can take months or even years. Following annexation, Israel would consider the Jordan Valley part of its territory and so any construction would become a domestic matter and wouldn’t require such approval.  

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

Palestinian views on this annexation plans:

The Palestinian leadership, along with almost 50 experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, say that annexation would formalize a system of “apartheid” in the West Bank – two peoples ruled by one state in the same space with unequal rights. Now, in a bid to increase international pressure to avert annexation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by agreements with Israel and the US, including on security. Some also fear that suspension of such agreements, if fully delivered, could result in  a collapse of the PA and potentially lead to chaos in the West Bank. Amid the bitter divisions in Palestinian politics, the militant group Hamas – the main rival of President Abbas’ Fatah movement – could try to capitalize and is warning of a confrontation with Israel. Abbas said annexation would amount to the “destruction” of a future Palestinian state, and suggests accepting current plans make the PA “a bunch of traitors – that we will not be.”

Annexation will make things worse: short-term risks include the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, a crisis in Israel’s relations with Jordan and Egypt with its de facto allies in the Gulf, and, above all, a resurgence of violence that could make the last intifada look mild. It will also destabilize an already volatile region, offering rich opportunities for Iran and Hezbollah, the Islamist militant party in Lebanon, to further exploit and destabilize the region.

And as usual the Palestinian people will suffer directly. Annexation will lead to massive expropriation – the taking of private property by the state – automatic in some cases, of Palestinian land and property, the subsequent expulsion of individuals, families and entire communities from the annexed territories, in addition to the above listed socio-political threats. And the situation in blockaded Gaza, home to two million Palestinians, will undoubtedly worsen.

If annexation of any territory goes ahead it will flagrantly breach international law and countless UN resolutions, and  cannot be ignored. Israel should and must face sanctions. Worst of all,  it will signal the failure of what for decades has been rightly seen as the only possible solution to the world’s most divisive conflict – two sovereign states for the two peoples who inhabit the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. And that suggests a future without hope for the Palestinians.

READ MORE: Israeli Forces Kill Young Palestinian Man At A Checkpoint In Occupied West Bank

Israeli Forces Kill Young Palestinian Man At A Checkpoint In Occupied West Bank

Ahmed was on his way to pick his sister and mother up from a salon, as it was his sister's wedding day.

Ahmed Erekat was shot dead by Israeli forces at the West Bank checkpoint this Tuesday on his way to pick up his sister from a salon ahead of her wedding that night. 

The Israeli border police said they shot and killed Ahmed Erekat who they say attempted to run over a female officer at a checkpoint in Abu Dis, a Palestinian village east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli police say the officer was “injured lightly”. 

Palestinian officials reject this account of Ahmed’s death and allegations by the Israeli police that Ahmed Erekat had tried to run over an Israeli officer.

Palestinians and human rights groups have accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, and in this case, opening fire on a car that merely lost control.

Senior Palestinian Official Hanan Ashrawi says Israel has a “kill first, justify later” policy that they need to be “held accountable for”.

Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney based in the US, is Ahmed’s older cousin. She said in a tweet that the police left Ahmed to bleed for 1.5 hours. 

Palestinian news agency Wafa reports that the director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem confirmed that an Israeli soldier prevented Palestinian medical personnel from approaching Erekat and he was left to bleed.

Erekat’s uncle, Saeb Erekat, said that the police allegation of an attempted car ramming was “impossible”, saying that Ahmed was engaged and due to get married himself very soon.

Noura Erakat said Ahmed was “pressed for time to pick up his sisters, the flowers, and all these other things from Bethlehem, we are 100 percent sure he would never do this. Why would he do this on his sister’s wedding day?”

 

READ MORE: Police Kill 62-Year-Old Ejaz Choudry After Undergoing Schizophrenia Episode In His Apartment

Here’s Why Joe Biden’s Anti-BDS Stance Is Problematic

Biden went on to say that his administration will "firmly reject the BDS movement."

Here’s Why Joe Biden’s Anti-BDS Stance Is Problematic

Biden went on to say that his administration will “firmly reject the BDS movement.”

By

Samer Hassan
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer, and doesn’t represent the view of our publication.

In an unsurprising turn of events, former Vice President Joe Biden declared his undying loyalty to the Zionist state of Israel. Dan Shapiro, the former ambassador to Israel, hosted an online fundraiser for the Biden Campaign. During the event, Biden affirmed his unconditional support to the Israeli state, a move that is increasingly at odds with many young progressive Americans. Biden went on to say that his administration will “firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel – home to millions of Jews – and too often veers into antisemitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices.” 

Inaccurate statements like these perpetuate a mentality that purports Israelis as the victims while Palestinians as obstacles to peace. Criticism of harmful Israeli policies should be encouraged but instead, are gaslit as antisemitic. 

Yet, when an unarmed Palestinian teenager was shot in the head by an Israeli occupation soldier and subsequent United Nations report detailing the 77% rise of illegal Israeli settler violence towards Palestinians, Biden was silent. Palestinian homes are being bulldozed in droves while their land is increasingly confiscated by illegal Israeli settler groups, Zionists point out that this land was promised to them and to them only. 

It is exactly this type of backdrop that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) campaign was created by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Their goal is to pressure Israel to treat the Palestinians as equal human beings with dignity and enter negotiations with a viable deal that gives Palestinians a state. This movement calls on the world to end economic deals with the Zionist government until Palestinians are free from occupation. Instead, the movement has been demonized by moderate and right-wing politicians around the world. Moderate candidates like Biden are not running for office to reform the American political system, but to maintain an unequal status quo. 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee opposed his statement saying, “By rejecting BDS, Joe Biden endorses US complicity in Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, and supports depriving Palestinians of our fundamental human rights,” the organization said.

In an insult to the American values of freedom and democracy for all, Biden stated, “They have to acknowledge flat out Israel’s right to exist, period, as an independent Jewish state, and guarantee the borders,” reiterating his lack of knowledge. The Palestinian Liberation Organization recognized Israel in 1988. It is the new caveat that demands Israel be recognized as a Jewish state that is a non-starter to Palestinian leaders because that would effectively sideline 24% of Israelis, who are Muslim and Christian, as second class citizens in a state that already practices dejure apartheid policies. Moreover, Israel doesn’t recognize an official border because that means it would have to legally abide by it. 

The double standards in the US presidential primaries towards the Palestinians shows exactly how out of touch the Biden campaign is with many of its constituents. There is a deafening silence when it comes to holding Israel accountable for its actions. Biden’s campaign has stated that he would not condition aid to Israel, even though there are many documented human rights violations towards the Palestinian people. 

What Americans need is a leader that holds all governments accountable to the ideals of peace, equality, and freedom for all, not Joe Biden and his “unshakable commitment to Israel.”

 
Samer Hassan is a Palestinian activist in New York city. He graduated with a degree in Political Science
from Columbia University. 

Palestine Reports First Coronavirus Death In Gaza

A 77 year old woman became the first fatality of Coronavirus in Palestine’s Gaza.

Palestine Reports First Coronavirus Death In Gaza

A 77 year old woman became the first fatality of Coronavirus in Palestine’s Gaza.

By

Mirza Fardeen

 

May 25, 2020 – The Gaza Health Ministry reported the first Novel Coronavirus death in the sieged territory of Gaza amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

The Health Ministry reported on Saturday, “Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, aged 77, from the Khan Younes governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah Crossing due to her infection with coronavirus.” 

The 77-year-old woman suffered from a prior chronic illness and had travelled to Gaza through neighboring Egypt on May 19. She had been quarantined as a precaution since then.

There has been a recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases among the residents returning to Gaza, causing COVID-19 infections to double in the Gaza Strip raising fears of a larger outbreak. 

Gaza Authorities managed to limit the COVID-19 cases to 20, with its border being shut for Egypt and Israel to contain its spread. 

In recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who were stuck in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from Israel. Preventive measures in the enclave had also been relaxed, with cafes and restaurants being allowed to reopen amid the outbreak in recent weeks.

The United Nations has warned that a coronavirus outbreak in Gaza could be devastating, given the high poverty rate and weakened health care system which is in Israel’s blockade since 2007. Home to two million people, the Gaza strip has only a few more the 60 ventilators and a chronic shortage of medical supplies.

Quarantining at hotels, clinics and schools for all residents returning via Israel and Egypt was imposed by Hamas since mid-March, but with recent surge in cases Hamas said it is going to close Gaza’s borders for all arrivals until the end of June.