By: Madeeha Araj/ NBPRS/
The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements said in its latest weekly report that Israeli PM Netanyahu announced at a press conference held last week his intention to impose Israeli sovereignty on the Palestinian Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea should he wins the elections.
He stressed that he recently made political efforts to create conditions for such a step, adding that such a step facilitates the annexation of all settlements in the West Bank i.e. 22% of the area C. Furthermore, he opposes the evacuation of 80,000 settlers adding that under his government there will be no separation plan and settlers won’t be expelled.
He also presented a map in his press conference, explaining that the area to be annexed constitutes a significant percentage of the West Bank area and is an area of 1,236,278 dunums, equal to 22.3% of the West Bank area, on which 30 settlements in addition to 23 outposts inhabited by 12,778 settlers according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017, except for the 18 outposts that will be annexed, 7 of which were established in Nov. 2016 after the election of US President Trump. The Palestinian Authority with access roads comprises 15 gatherings It is inhabited by 44,175 Palestinians and includes 48 grazing communities with 8775 Palestinians according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
The reactions to Netanyahu’s plan for annexation were furious at the local, regional and international levels. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that all agreements signed with the Israeli side and the resulting obligations would be terminated if the Israeli side implemented the imposition of Israeli sovereignty on any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. He also called on the Palestinian National Council to reconsider Israel’s membership in the UNs’ General Assembly for its non-compliance with its resolutions. A Palestinian national consensus on rejecting the American Century deal and refusing to participate in the Manama conference in Bahrain at the end of last June, the national consensus was achieved in the position of Netanyahu’s plan to annex the Palestinian Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea areas in the positions of all Palestinian political and community forces. As for the Arab level, the Arab foreign ministers at emergency meeting held in the Egyptian capital Cairo, considered this declaration as a dangerous development and a new Israeli aggression in flagrant violation of international law, the UNs’ charter, and the relevant international resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 .
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Israel would not annex parts of the West Bank to its sovereignty, stressing that the move would destroy the peace process. The Jordan Valley is illegal and threatens the chances of a two-state solution. Instead, it will consolidate the reality of a single state of separate legal systems, political rights and unequal social opportunities, while France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Britain regarded statements by Israeli PM Netanyahu in which he promised to annex parts of the occupied West Bank to Israel’s sovereignty as a serious violation of international law and is a threat to a two-state solution on the 1967 borders and makes it difficult to achieve a just and lasting peace.
At the same time, the Israeli occupation forces seized approximately 100 dunums of land from the villages of Qariot and Jaloud, south of Nablus, and Turmus’ayya, in Ramallah Governorate in order to expand construction work in the settlement of Shilo. As a continuation of the Israeli government’s policy of deporting citizens and farmers from their lands, the Israeli bulldozers started to level hundreds of dunums of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley, where more than 300 olive trees were uprooted and 5 water wells were destroyed.
In Jenin, a new settlement plan was disclosed to control the remaining agricultural lands in the southwest of the city and establish a settlement at the expense of Palestinian farmers’ land in coordination with the Council of Settlements in the West Bank. On Feb. 2nd, the IDF notified the Israeli army of the evacuation of 110 dunums of Zahir-Maleh village in the north of the village adjacent to Shaked settlement, alleging that the lands belonging to the treasury of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. According to the military notices 392960, 392961, 392962, the occupation specified a period of no more than 45 days for the evacuation of the lands, which are located within the area known as the “Qasr eSheikh” within the natural basin n 9 and pieces n 13,13,14. Furthermore, the Israeli occupation army, in coordination with the mayor of Shaked settlement and head of the West Bank Settlement Council, started on Jan. 2nd to level large areas of the village land in favor of the apartheid wall.