Israeli regime seeks to fully occupy West Bank

Alwaght – Already making headlines because of the Trump’s controversial plans and decisions, the Palestinian case is now under a new focus as recently a member of Netanyahu cabinet denied that there will be an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank. 

The comments were made by the Israeli Minister of Science, Technology, and Space Ofir Akunis who is a member of the ruling Likud Party.

“My position on the establishment of a Palestinian terror state in Samaria and Judea (the West Bank), in the heart of the homeland of the Jewish people, is not acceptable in any way,” Haaretz quoted him as saying.

He also claimed that there were officials in Trump administration who share this view. He added that they believe that setting up an Arab state in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based, was not a solution to the Palestinian issue.

“A Palestinian terror state is a recipe for the suicide of the state of Israel and we are not committing suicide,” he went on.

Taking practical steps to eliminate Palestine

The Israeli minister’s comments are seen as an emphasis on the intention to fully remove the Palestinian identity and name from the Palestinian territories.

The remarks are coming while a UN resolution in 1967 named the West Bank as the territory where the future Palestinian state will be established. Many parties, including the European Union, find the Israeli settlement projects in the usurped Palestinian land acts of “occupation.”

But Akunis is not the only Israeli official rejecting the Palestinians’ right to have an independent state in the West Bank. On July 8, the Knesset pushed a bill allowing the Israelis to buy lands in the West Bank. Sources familiar with the bill, pushed by the Jewish Home, said it intends to recognize personal land ownership of the Jews in two areas of the occupied West Bank.

If passed into a law, the draft bill can abolish a previous law passed in 1953 restricting ownership of lands in the West Bank to the Palestinian and Jordanian citizens and will allow the Jews to personally buy lands in parts of the occupied Palestinian territory.

According to an amendment introduced to 1953 law in 1970, the Jews could purchase land in the West Bank only through a registered company and cooperatives in the West Bank regardless of who owned the company, and the illegal settlement projects were launched by cooperatives. The law, thus, prohibited personally owning the lands by the Jews. The new bill, once accepted, will allow not only the Jews but also all of the non-Arab citizens to have their own land.

The bill will mean that the Palestinians’ full right to exclusively be landowners in the West Bank is taken away from them. This means that from now on, the land occupation is accelerated and does not only take place through settlements building but also through Israeli individuals buying homes.

West Bank’s legal status in Western eyes

The Muslim world absolutely rejected the establishment of the Israeli regime in 1948 and called for liberation of the whole occupied Palestinian lands. But the United Nations has a different definition of the Israeli territory seizures, recognizing only the lands seized after 1967 as occupied lands and calling on Tel Aviv to return to the pre-1967 borders. This definition is also supported by the West, including the European governments. They only recognize illegal the territorial expansion and settlements built within the pre-1967 borders.

According to the UN and Western definition, the West Bank, Eastern Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip are projected to be territories of a Palestinian state. Europe and the US promised Palestinians in 1967 to help them set up their own state, something unaccomplished to date.

But during all of these years, the Israeli regime expanded territorially in the West Bank on the strength of the Western and the whole international community’s silence. Tel Aviv crossed all of the red lines including those drawn by the UN to help establish an independent Palestinian state.

According to the Oslo Accord, signed between Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the West Bank was divided into three A, B, and C areas. The Area A, covering 18 percent of the West Bank, went under exclusive rule of the Palestinian Authority. Area B was agreed to be jointly run by the Israelis and an unarmed Palestinian Authority. And Area C, covering the most of West Bank territory, fell under full political and executive administration of Tel Aviv.

According to the same agreement, the Israeli-occupied West Bank territories were to be handed back to the Palestinian Authority in a five-year time span up to 2000. But as of now, no term of the deal is implemented by Tel Aviv, and settlement in Palestinian-controlled areas is sped up at an unprecedented pace.

The expansion campaign presents proof to the fact that Tel Aviv not only does not seek peace but also does not accede to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Some Palestinian sides optimistically engaged in the so-called peace talks with the Israeli regime, ignoring advice by others that the negotiations will hardly bear fruits leading to an independent Palestine. The Palestinian Authority, as a negotiating Palestinian side, is now facing this bitter fact.

Completing “deal of the century” puzzle

The comments come as Trump’s Al-Quds recognition and embassy relocation’s aftermaths continue. Over the past few months, there were news about Trump’s “deal of the century”, whose details are yet to be unveiled. Many experts maintain that the deal will possibly recognize illegal West Bank settlements and Al-Quds as the eternal capital of the Israeli regime.

The US president’s plan has many advocates among the hardline Israelis of the occupied territories. Part of the Trump-sponsored project appears to be fully occupying the West Bank. But with strong opposition to the deal by the Palestinian factions and the global public opinion, the White House can hardly materialize its intention.