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
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
The recent Israeli security cabinet decision to approve construction permits for Palestinian homes in Area C of the occupied West Bank was somewhat of a rarity, “the first such decision since 2016”.
While the figure of 715 housing units in Palestinian towns sounds positive, thus far no details have been revealed – including for example, whether the plans relate to new construction or the retroactive legalisation of homes built without Israeli-issued permits.
In addition to this lack of clarity, these housing units are a drop in the ocean – according to Peace Now, “it is estimated that there are at least a thousand young Palestinian couples in need of housing in Area C each year”. 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
With just over two months to go before the second Israeli election this year, and with the latest polls predicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will struggle to meet the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition, former Israeli minister and current Yisrael Beiteinu party chair Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the kingmaker. Last month the veteran politician expressed his desire for a unity government between Likud and the opposition Blue and White list. Mr Lieberman, whose refusal to form a coalition with Likud triggered the dissolution of the Knesset in May, told Israeli radio: “We will aim for a government with Likud and with [the Blue and White party] and that will be an emergency government, a national liberal government. We will do everything to limit the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] so that they won’t enter government.” 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