Israeli plan to annex Palestinian areas approved

Israeli plan to annex Palestinian areas approved

Palestinians would either be forced to emigrate to a neighbouring Arab country or remain without voting rights

Palestinians from the Abu Farah family collect belongings from the rubble of their family home after it was demolished by Jerusalem municipality workers in the mostly Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Tur on September 13, 2017. Palestinian homes built without an Israeli construction permit are often demolished by order of the Jerusalem municipality. / AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI

Dubai: The National Union faction, which is represented by the Habayit Hayehudi party in the Knesset, approved on Tuesday a detailed plan for annexation of Palestinian territories as talk of annexation is increasingly becoming more mainstream in Israeli society. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the event lending it an air of legitimacy.

The so-called “Decision Plan” would either force Palestinians to emigrate to a neighbouring Arab country or allow them to remain in “Israel” but without voting rights.

Habayit Hayehudi member Bezalel Smotrich said the plan aims to present an alternative to dividing land between Israelis and Palestinians.

“Our vision is not new. These are the foundations on which Zionism was erected. We do not assume that there are two narratives that are equal. There’s one side that’s correct, and another that is underminding the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state,” Smotrich said.

“We have to engrave in the conciousness of the Arabs and the entire world that there is no chance of establishing an Arab state in the Land of Israel.”

Under the plan Palestinians who stay in “Israel” would be forced to relinquish their national aspirations, those who refuse would “receive assistance to emigrate to an Arab country” and those who choose to resist would be “handled by the security forces with greater force than at present”.

Palestinians would have the option of “self-government” but they would be divided into three regional municipal governments.

The overall objective is to “dismantle the Palestinian national collective”.

Observers note that talk of annexation has gained steam since the election of US President Donald Trump—seen as possibly the most pro-Israeli president in US history.

In January, the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection, Ze’ev Elkin, has called for the gradual Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank.

Ukrainian-born Elkin, who is the chairman of the ruling coalition in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and head of the ruling Likud parliamentary faction, told a conference at Bar-Ilan University: “As a first step, Israel might annex colony blocks that enjoy across-the-border legitimacy among Israelis.

Many Palestinians believe that threats of annexation of the occupied West Bank are quickly becoming a reality.

Israel occupied the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 war. Israel has since illegally occupied east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognised internationally, and it withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Most of the international community considers colonies illegal and an obstacle to creating a Palestinian state.

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