The illegal plan: Israel and the annexations

Israeli protester holding a banner against the US peace plan in Jerusalem, on 15 May Israeli protester holding a banner against the US peace plan in Jerusalem, on 15 May Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

29 June 2020

The United Nations take a stance on the Israeli plan: “Annexation is illegal. Period.”

On 29 June, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, declared the Israeli plans of annexation as illegal, on 29 June. The timing is particularly relevant as Israel may partly implement the Middle East plan proposed by the United States (US), starting from 1 July. 

This date has been set by an agreement between the Likud party and the White and Blue party, led respectively by Netanyahu and Gantz, which formed a coalition to govern the country at the end of April 2020. The plan proposed by the US contributed substantially to pave the way for annexation of key occupied territories in the West Bank. As a matter of fact, the deal proposed by Trump in January signs a discontinuity with the previous position of the US administration, allowing Israel to incorporate the settlements in the West Bank. However, the Israeli government is not cohese on annexation, since Gantz has shown his willingness to wait to kick off the plan until coronavirus will be contained. As previously underlined by the Commanders for Israel’s Security, the annexation would almost inevitably lead out to dangerous consequences for Israel and to a complete occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, it would endanger the relations of Israel with its neighbours and with Middle East regional powers. Annexation would make it impossible to let Israel and Palestine sit at the negotiation table and thus would undermine the internationally-recognized two-states solution. At that point, the Israel’s desire of being a Jewish state, would be only be possible by preventing Palestinian people from having equal rights, de facto giving up Israel’s democratic nature. Also, in the short-run, this move would trigger further violations of human rights, by restricting the freedom of movement of Palestinian people, expropriating properties which belong to Palestinians and depriving them of humanitarian aids as well as essential services, such as education and healthcare.

Shock waves are an important matter of concern, according to Mr. Bachelet, and Palestinians will incur risk of forcible transfer while settlements are likely to expand, in spite of being illegal under international law. Consequently, no matter the actual extent of the annexation, its effects will be disastrous, pushing the UN Human Rights chief to urge Israel not to proceed with its plan.


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Author: Giulia Azzarone

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