With just days to go until Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allowed, per the coalition government agreement, to pursue the annexation of illegally occupied West Bank territory, debate swirls around what – if any – land will be formally annexed in the coming weeks and months.
Various annexation scenarios are being discussed, from the 30 percent of the West Bank envisaged in the Donald Trump administration’s plan – including the Jordan Valley region – through to a smaller amount of territory concentrated around major settlements. Read more
As Israel’s parliament swore in a new government this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his goal of annexing territory in the occupied West Bank. “It’s time to apply the Israeli law and write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism,” he told the Knesset.
Ever since the deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz took shape, including a commitment to advancing “sovereignty” in the parts of the West Bank allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s plan, annexation has featured heavily in diplomacy and in analysts’ debates.
But amid all the discussion about potential consequences for Israeli relations with the EU or for the peace treaty with Jordan, not much attention has been paid to the possibility that annexation will ultimately be fudged. Read more
The recent United States announcement that it no longer believes the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is “inconsistent with international law” provoked an immediate response internationally, including in Brussels.
Within hours of the US statement, European Union senior foreign affairs official Federica Mogherini issued a statement affirming that the EU’s position “is clear and remains unchanged: all [Israeli] settlement activity is illegal under international law and … erodes the viability of the two-state solution.” Read more
Just days before going to the polls for the second time this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, to much fanfare on home turf, that he planned to annex the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank should he secure another term in office.
It was a move intended to rally right-wing voters behind his party, Likud, which remains in close competition with the opposition Blue and White list. Having failed to form a government in April’s election and with corruption charges looming over him, the stakes have never been higher for Mr Netanyahu. Read more
UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), which frequently smears Palestine solidarity campaigners and charities with false allegations of promoting “antisemitism” and links to “extremism”, will this Sunday host an official from a notorious Israeli organisation that believes all of the West Bank belongs to Israel.
The event in London will see Israeli settler activist Naomi Linder Kahn, from the right-wing advocacy group Regavim, give a talk on “the struggle to preserve Israel’s land”.
On its site, UKLFI describes Regavim as “an Israeli research-based think tank and lobbying group”. In reality Regavim is a diehard opponent of Palestinian self-determination and international law. Read more
When Israeli authorities last week approved plans for more than 2,000 settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank, the European Union was quick to condemn the move.
“All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” read the statement issued by the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service.
It went on: “The EU expects the Israeli authorities to fully meet their obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law and to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, of designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and of denying Palestinian development.” Read more
A furore broke out in Israel this past weekend, after an interview with Education Minister Rafi Peretz was broadcast on Saturday night television.
Speaking to Channel 12, Peretz – a former army chief rabbi and now leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) – was asked if he believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for gay people. Answering in the affirmative, Peretz responded: “I think you can,” adding: “I can tell you that I have a deep knowledge of education, and I have done it too.” Read more
Speculation over the White House’s “Middle East peace plan” continues to dominate media coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, the latest example coming with the announcement of a Bahrain-hosted “workshop” in June to encourage investment in the Palestinian economy.
With the exception of the Gaza Strip, however – and then only partially and selectively – minimal attention is being paid to developments on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the paradigm of military occupation alone is insufficient to understanding what is taking place – namely, ethnic cleansing. Read more
On 13 December, shortly after two Israeli soldiers had been shot dead outside an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post tweeted the following: “They celebrate death and we celebrate life. That is the core of this conflict.”
Katz’s tweet encapsulated the dehumanisation of Palestinians, and utter denial about the reality of occupation and colonialism, that is unfortunately all too common amongst Jewish Israelis. Read more
After Avigdor Lieberman’s departure from Israel’s ruling coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied expectations by keeping his government intact.
The prospect of an immediate vote might have receded, but election speculation is only intensifying, with a maximum of a year left in the government’s term.
A major part of the debate pertains to the Israeli opposition, and in particular, the possibility of Netanyahu finally being replaced as prime minister. Read more