West Bank Annexation by Israel


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West bank refers to a thin piece of land, mostly hilly area between Israel and Jordan River. It is located on the west of Jordon River. The geographical area has been occupied by Israel since 1967 middle east war.

However, decades of crucial on off talks between Israel and Palestine -each of them asserts ownership rights on west bank which have left its final standing unresolved.

The Oslo accord signed by Palestine liberation organization and State of Israel in 1990’s was a stepping stone for peaceful existence according to which PLO recognized Israel as a country and in return they gave PLO restricted self-rule in Gaza and parts of west bank.

This accord was a disappointment as Palestinians officials accused Israel for not standing in terms with the accord and denying the troop withdrawal. Israel continued to built illegal settlements on the land being negotiated. The Israeli critics said that the Palestinian violence has increased and they are failing to police Gaza and west bank efficiently.

According to the current statistics 2.1 million and 3 million Palestine Arabs lives in the west bank under self-governance and Israeli military rule. West bank also provides shelter to approximately 430,000 Israeli Jews.


Why Do They Want West Bank?


Agricultural Significance - The part of west bank in annexation plan has an economical and agricultural importance .The land around Jordan river , that is Jordon  valley ,is the most fertile part of the west bank .There are less settlement and more of agricultural land .The river provides a constant source of water as well .Keeping in mind that Israel is a water scare country annexing Jordon valley is a golden opportunity .

Defense Reasons Israel had given a statement that during the time of wars and crisis the Arab nation like Jordan has always attacked them from the Jordon valley side. Hence, they want the control of the area for security and self-defense purposes. So, they can have standing military force.

Religious Significance The Jewish settlers in Israel see west bank as a holy and ancestral land. They believe that, the land was given to them by god. As faith and believe has been a major reason for land dispute all round the world Israel is no exception. This is a historical claim.

Illegal Settlements - At present west bank has 132 Israeli and 124 unauthorized settlements. These are illegal as they occupy the territory of West Bank which is part of future Palestine state.

The Israeli government encourages the citizens to live in west bank. Because they want those small settlements to officially be part of State of Israel.


The Plan and Recent Developments

The word annexation plan means when a state that is Israel unilaterally proclaims its sovereignty over other territory, which comes under Palestinian territory. It is a serious violation of Charter of United Nations. This stands in contrary to the two-nation solution negation between the two.

Benjamin Netanyahu who came into power as Prime Minister of Israel in coalition with the opposition. He vowed to annex west bank. During his election rallies he presented the map and clearly explained the area targeted.

 As west bank was under limited control of Israel after 1967, the officials in their defense are saying that is plan is just to increase their control.

1ST of July was marked to present the West Bank annexation plan. But no announcements were made. Benny Gantz alternative PM and minister for defense of Israel, said in past weeks that any plans for annexation must be kept on hold keeping in mind the ongoing corona-virus outbreak.

Benjamin have faced a very strong opposition from all over the world for such a step. However due to constant support of US President Donald Trump, which allows Israel to claim the settlements in west bank.

Trump is the friendliest American president in the history of USA Israel relation. And that’s why Israel see this as once in a life time opportunity.

In the month of January 2020 trump proposed a peace plan, that had clearly stated that Israel can annex Jordan valley and incorporate settlements in west bank and can declare it sovereign.

However, USA is having presidential elections in the month of November, keeping in mind that if his rival Joe Biden who opposed the Israel planed of annexation gets elected. The US policy will reverse. Hence, Mr.  Netanyahu wants this annexation to be done before November under full-fledged support of world’s most powerful country, USA.


Global Response?

Israel has been warned by its friends and foes for the future outcome of the annexation. As this step will blow the terms of two state negations between Israel and Palestine and pave way to a never-ending conflict and instability in the area.

The Arab nations who have criticized the plan has given a united statement that they will stand with Palestine. Jordan who is the only Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel will review if it does not back off. Clearly the neighboring countries of Israel is supporting Palestine and defy the annexation of west bank plan.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Israel to abandon his plan to annex west bank. A clear warning was given that this initiative will bring a lot of instability and disturb the regional peace.

European Union which is the biggest trading partner with Israel is trying to use diplomatic means to dispirit the country from carrying out the plan. The larger international community does not believe these settlements are legal as they are considered illegal under international laws.


What Will Be the Consequences?

The settlements of west bank Israel will annex, comes under direct and permanent control of state of Israel. Palestinian argues that this plan will leave their area fragmented as parts of their territory will be occupied. The Palestine Arabs will become homeless. They will be only left with an option to leave the land and be a refugee.

The Palestinians will be denied the right to vote for the government and will live under Israeli military. The control of Israel will remove the Palestinians from the handful international laws which acted as savior. Also, this plan will lead to unavoidable end of democracy in Israel.

After world war 2 seizure of land by force was considered illegal under international laws. But Israel’s annex plan with full American support will normalize capturing other country’s territory. And set an example which will show failure of United Nation and international laws.

Now Palestine has to get ready to fight the same battle as Nelson Mandela did that is -ONE CITIZEN ONE VOTE. If Palestine comes out as a winner it will mean the end of the Jewish state in its ongoing form. Until they do, it will mean the end of Israeli democracy.


Written By – Shalaka Pathak

Editing By- Adrija Saha

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