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US News Annexation to the West Bank: doubt hangs over the implementation of the Netanyahu project

18:55  30 june  2020
18:55  30 june  2020 Source:   france24.com

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Une affiche représentant le président américain Donald Trump et le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, portant les mots en hébreu, © Ammar Awad, Reuters A poster depicting US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, bearing the words in Hebrew, "No to a Palestinian state "and" Sovereignty Do it well! " as part of a new campaign of far-right Jewish settlers in Jerusalem on June 10, 2020.

In the midst of a health and economic crisis, no one knows if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to implement his plan for annexation of part of the West Bank, scheduled for July 1.

Will Benjamin Netanyahu be able to execute his plans to annex part of the West Bank on Wednesday July 1? "Honestly, I don't think anyone knows what will happen on July 1 or the following days. Neither will Netanyahu," Elias Zananiri, vice-president of the Liberation Organization's interaction committee, told France 24. Palestine (PLO) with Israeli society. "But one thing is clear: the Palestinians will not accept any form of annexation whatsoever," he said on Sunday to France 24.

Washington procrastinates on the Israeli annexation project

 Washington procrastinates on the Israeli annexation project ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-ANNEXION-USA: Washington procrastinates on the Israeli annexation project © Reuters / AMMAR AWAD WASHINGTON TERGIVERSE ON THE ISRAELIC CONNECTION PROJECT WASHINGTON / JERUSALEM (Reuters ) - The US government has failed, in three days of top-level White House talks, to make a decision on the Israeli plan to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, senior officials said Thursday. in Washington.

>> Read: What does the Netanyahu-Gantz pact on annexation provide for? from the West Bank on July 1?

According to the agreement signed in May between Benjamin Netanyahu and his former electoral rival Benny Gantz, their unity government must decide from Wednesday on the implementation of the American plan for the Middle East, which notably provides for the annexation by Israel of settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. Some observers believe that the government could procrastinate or start by annexing only certain colonies or blocks of colonies.

Monday, Benny Gantz, currently Minister of Defense, himself said that the project was not a priority, highlighting the coronavirus pandemic. After initially managing to contain the virus relatively well, Israel is currently recording an increase in the number of cases. In this context of health crisis, only 5% of Israelis consider that annexation should be the priority of the government, according to a recent survey.

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An annexation in a hurry

But for Benjamin Netanyahu, time is short. The mismanagement of the crisis in the United States and the bad polls of Donald Trump may suggest that the current US president will not necessarily be re-elected on November 3. Benjamin Netanyahu needs the architect of this ruling plan to implement it. His opponent in the race for the White House, Joe Biden, strongly criticized him the project and already announced that he would not support him if he was elected.

The legal troubles of Benjamin Netanyahu could also precipitate the implementation of the plan: annexing the Palestinian territories would be a way to divert attention from the accusations of corruption, fraud and breach of trust. Indeed, since the start of his trial on May 24, Covid-19 and the impending annexation of the West Bank have been making headlines, overshadowing the hearings of his trial.

Gantz wants to postpone Israeli annexation plans due to corona crisis

 Gantz wants to postpone Israeli annexation plans due to corona crisis © HAZEM BADER Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wants to postpone the possible annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank due to the corona crisis. "Anything that has nothing to do with the fight against the corona virus will wait," he said. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wants to postpone the possible annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank due to the corona crisis. "Everything that has nothing to do with the fight against the corona virus will wait," he said on Monday.

To this is added the desire of the head of Likud, holder of the longevity record for the post of Prime Minister in all of Israel's history, to keep power. "He knows that annexation is important for the right, its electoral base. Strategically, if it does not annex, it will be problematic for its voters."

The specter of an economic crisis

While waiting to make a decision, Benjamin Netanyahu must contend with the strong criticisms that his project raises. It must be said that the unilateral annexation "raises fears of a new confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians ", say analysts of the Adva Center, a progressive think tank based in Tel Aviv, in a publication published on June 17. "A news surge of violence will certainly amplify the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic, just as the second intifada had exacerbated the crisis generated after the bursting of the speculative bubble on technologies in 2000. "

The economic recession which then followed the second Intifada had been described by the central bank of Israel as the longest in the country's history. "During the second Intifada, the number of tourists entering Israel fell to less than a million," according to Adva Center analysts

Demonstration in Gaza against Israeli annexation

 Demonstration in Gaza against Israeli annexation "No to annexation", "Palestinian lives matter", chanted the Palestinians gathered today in Gaza, with reference to the American anti-racist movement "Black lives matter ”. Thousands of demonstrators marched Wednesday in this Palestinian enclave against the American plan for the Middle East, which provides for the annexation by Israel of territories in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli government is expected to rule on Wednesday on the implementation of this controversial plan.

A situation that resembles that of the country today. In recent months, Israeli tourism - booming before the health crisis, with 4.6 million foreign visitors in 2019 - is once again at half mast. Unemployment also climbed to 18% from 3.4% before the pandemic. "To compensate for the losses caused by the epidemic, Israel must not only overcome the Covid-19 but also stay away from the conflicts," said the same analysts.

"Annexation is illegal. End point"

Beyond the economic aspect, Benjamin Netanyahu considers the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank as his historical heritage. And the previous annexations of East Jerusalem (1967) and the Golan Heights (1981) "were seen as historic measures by previous heads of government," wrote Israeli journalist Sever Plocker in a Ynet editorial. This latest annexation will, according to the Prime Minister, strengthen Israel's grip on certain parts of biblical land and allow it to better defend its borders. "

" The international community must react quickly, warns Elias Zananiri. "I believe it is its duty to intervene and, for once, to brandish the threat against Israel and to tell the outgoing government that it cannot continue to behave and act in spite of international law."

It's done.

"Annexation is illegal . Full stop," said Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in a written statement Monday. "Any annexation. Whether 30% of the West Bank or 5%". And to conclude: "I urge Israel to listen to its own former high officials and generals, as well as the many voices in the world, warning it not to continue on this dangerous path."

Adapted from English by Aude Mazoué

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