Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Israel delays on annexation of part of the West Bank

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For over a year now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to annex part of the West Bank. In the countryside, over the course of three legislative elections, he has continued to broaden his ambition: to apply full Israeli "sovereignty" to the large "blocks" of settlements and isolated settlements, then to the Jordan Valley. However, Wednesday 1er July, when it comes to putting these commitments into practice, nothing seems ready.

On the air of the army radio, Wednesday morning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi, himself admitted to ignoring if an action plan would be revealed today, from which Mr. Netanyahu had committed to presenting a annexation decree to the Council of Ministers. " I do not know. Ask Netanyahu »he replied wearily, before deciding that an announcement at this stage would not be " reasonable ".

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Arab embarrassment over Israel's West Bank annexation project

This delay is due to Washington's hesitation, the only foreign support for a project contrary to international law, which perpetuates the occupation of Palestinian territories conquered in 1967. "It could have happened today, but things have yet to crystallize with the United States government. There has not been a complete agreement on the areas where Israeli sovereignty will be applied. "Likoud MP Ofir Akunis, also on army radio, said on Wednesday, adding that the annexation would take place in July.

Trump remains silent

Israeli authorities hoped last week to speak from US President Donald Trump, who remains silent. On Tuesday, Netanyahu concluded a new interview with the American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and with White House envoy Avi Berkowitz, without apparent result. His office just said on Wednesday that they would sue "In the coming days" these discussions.

According to the Israeli press, they relate to compensation that Israel could grant to the Palestinian Authority (PA), including greater responsibility in areas administered directly by Israel, and possible exchanges of territory. Washington thus intends to preserve the credibility of the "Trump plan", unveiled in January.

By sparing the PA, the Trump administration seeks to leave the door open to negotiations on the basis of this plan, which provides, in time and under conditions, for the creation of a fragmented and reduced Palestinian state. Ramallah opposed him firmly in January. The AP recalls that annexation is precisely the opposite of negotiation, and fears that it will strike a fatal blow to its national project. "We are not going to sit at a negotiating table where the annexation or the Trump plan is proposed, because it is not a peace plan but a project to legitimize the occupation"said senior Palestinian diplomat Saëb Erekat on Wednesday.

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