A Statement by the YWCA of Palestine on the Looming Israeli Annexation of the West Bank
15 July 2020
Although the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed the annexation of the 30% of the West Bank, including the over 250 illegal Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley, this does not mean that this illegal move, which is rooted in President Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” announced back in January 2020 is annulled or stopped. For the Palestinians, it is a recipe for perpetuating apartheid and supporting Israel’s continued efforts to eradicate any hopes for a free independent Palestine and erase the Palestinian identity of the land.
Unilateral annexation, as is occupation, is illegal under international law. In a statement issued on Monday 29 June 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet stressed that, “[a]nnexation is illegal. Period”. Annexation of any part of the “occupied Palestinian territory will not only seriously damage efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region, it is likely to entrench, perpetuate and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades.”
This period of delay is a second chance for the countries of the world to increase their efforts to stop this illegal unilateral action of Israel and its ally the USA. Israel has not accepted, since it was created in 1948, any of the hundreds of UN resolutions to solve the Palestinian Israeli problems, and has put itself above international law, and the silence of the world governments to take proper actions against Israel every time it did not abide by the UN resolutions and International law, encouraged them to continue its aggression and land grab. It is high time for the world governments to apply not only lip service to the Israeli actions, but to impose harsh sanctions against Israel, similar to those applied on any pariah country in the world until it abides by international law and stops its aggression against the Palestinians and grabbing their Land.
The situation as it is now, the continued humiliation, oppression and violation of human rights, makes life unbearable for Palestinians yet the looming annexation entails an even harsher reality for them. As Israel stretches its sovereignty and gobbles up more land, Palestinians will be zoned in enclaves. This will result in increased restrictions on movement, difficulty accessing basic services and entire families losing their homes. Many farmers will no longer be able to reach and cultivate their farmlands thus will lose their only source of income. The annexation will result in a similar situation as currently exists in the Jordan Valley, where Israel has been exploiting it for years and has “banned Palestinians from entering or using about 85% of the area be it for construction, laying infrastructure, shepherding or farming.”With the annexation, Palestinians will have no access to the added 30% area of the West Bank.
The “Deal of the Century” drops the refugee issue from negotiations and relieves Israel from any commitments and responsibilities under UNGA Resolution 194 towards Palestine refugees who make up “70 percent of all Palestinians worldwide”. In fact, “Israel believes that the solution to the refugee problem must be by granting them citizenship in the countries where they have taken refuge.”Annexing parts of the West Bank will extinguish any remaining hope for refugees to return to their homeland, and will actually lead to the displacement of many more.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has left Palestinians more fragile. Currently, they are battling the second wave of infections, which is more ferocious than the first one. If Netanyahu proceeds with his disastrous plan in the few months to come, Palestinians will be left to take on two equally devastating fights.
The YWCA of Palestine calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of human rights in accordance with international law and the relevant international conventions and to take concrete and proactive measures to stop the annexation of the West Bank. Such measures should include imposing sanctions and banning trade with Israel.
As individuals, we call on you to take action as well. Here is what you can do to support:
- Send a letter to your member of state to push forward on imposing sanctions on Israel [you may use this action alert to do so];
- Educate people around you about the situation in Palestine, especially about the annexation plan and its effects on the lives of Palestinians. This could be through workshops, public demonstrations etc.;
- Boycott all Israeli products, and not only those coming from the more than 250 illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank , and ask others to do the same.
We believe that annexing the West Bank will lead to the end of Palestine. Will you take action to stop it? Together we can defeat injustice and make this world a better place for all.