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Israel will study a project that could involve the “annexation” of territories

Ⓒ AFP – Thomas Coex – | Buildings under construction in the Pisgat Zeev settlement in front of the Israeli wall separating Jerusalem from Ramallah in the West Bank in an image dated October 26, 2017

Israel will study a project that in practice will be equivalent to the annexation of Jewish settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territory around Jerusalem, according to detractors of colonization, who denounced a coup against peace.

A commission of ministers will examine a decree on Sunday called “Law on the Great Jerusalem,” said two promoters of the project, Transport Minister Israel Katz and Likud deputy Yoav Kisch, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party .

The bill would place under the jurisdiction of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem blocks of settlements south and east of the city, in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by the Israeli military for 50 years.

If the commission adopts the project, it would pave the way for a debate in parliament.

However, examination of such sensitive decrees, including the “Great Jerusalem Law”, has already been postponed in the past after being included in the agenda.

– Territorial continuity –

Whether or not it was examined on Sunday, the text caused indignation among the Palestinians.

The project aims to perpetuate the Israeli occupation, “legalize the presence of Jewish extremists on Palestinian soil and end” the separation between East Jerusalem, the Palestinian side of Jerusalem annexed by Israel, and the West Bank, said Hanan Ashraui, a leader of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO).

Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the state capital they aspire to, while Israel annexed that part of the city and claims that all Jerusalem is their indivisible capital.

Colonies around Jerusalem, some of which would be affected by the “Great Jerusalem Law,” such as Maale Adumim or Gush Etzion, divide East Jerusalem and the West Bank and commit the construction of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital.

The bill, as well as the latest Israeli decisions, “represent the end of a two-state solution,” that is, the creation of a Palestinian state coexisting with Israel, Ashraui said.

This solution, a reference by the international community to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seems increasingly distant, particularly after US President Donald Trump’s refusal to compromise on his behalf.

The adoption would extend a series of Israeli decisions in favor of colonization.

Israel last week approved the construction of 2,646 housing units in the occupied West Bank and 176 in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem on Wednesday.

– Cosmetics –

Some settlements are located in the depths of the West Bank, while others, also in Palestinian territory, border on Israel or belong to “blocks” which, according to the Israelis, should form part of Israel, even if territories were granted in the framework of a solution agreed with the Palestinians.

“This place will someday be part of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said at Maale Adumim this month.

Netanyahu faces the pressures of the colonization lobby groups and members of his own government who reject the two-state solution and also defend the annexation of parts of the West Bank.

In the colonies that would happen to be under the jurisdiction of Jerusalem, would live around 150,000 people. With these new inhabitants, it will “maintain the demographic balance” of the city, notes the text, which also stresses that this will accelerate construction.

The project does not stipulate that the colonies would be “annexed” to Israel, but “associated” with Jerusalem, retaining a certain “autonomy” by becoming “sub-municipalities.”

The difference is purely cosmetic, stressed the anti-colonization organization Peace Now.

“If adopted, this law will constitute an annexation of fact and a determined step towards an annexation of law,” he reacted.

It would be pursued to accelerate the construction in the colonies and “to create on the ground consummate facts that ruin the possibilities of a solution of two States”, considered the association.

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