Who is responsible for annexing the West Bank to Israel?

Construction workers build illegal settlements in West Bank on 25 August, 2017 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Construction workers build illegal settlements in West Bank on 25 August, 2017

By Dr Fayez abu Shamaleh

Downplaying catastrophes is a catastrophe in itself; dwarfing concerns is a serious delusion; and jumping over reality is a deep canyon that will break the necks of the people who are silent regarding their seized rights. Those who have seized the Palestinians’ rights are not only the Israelis, but rather all those who lent Israel a hand to help it usurp Palestinian land. This includes America with its decisions and money; Arabs conspiring behind the scenes; and Palestinians who boast of their destructive political approach and damaging — yet somehow “sacred” — security coordination.

The resolution to annex the West Bank reads: “On the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the regions of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], including Jerusalem our eternal capital, the Likud Central Committee calls on the Likud’s elected officials to act to allow free construction and to apply the laws of Israel and its sovereignty to all liberated areas of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.”

Many may believe that the Likud Party’s resolution has crushed the Oslo Accords and there is nothing left for the negotiators to talk about. Some may say that the resolution has completely eliminated the two-state solution, while others may downplay the resolution and claim that the resolution would “only” be implemented on the areas with Jewish settlements, which represents no more than 60 per cent of the West Bank and that there is a chance to fight Israel about this in the UN. Yet others may say that this is a partisan resolution that is not binding on the Israeli government, ignoring the Likud’s majority in the government coalition.

Read: Likud decision to annex West Bank represents ‘Israeli apartheid,’ says Arab MK

We may also hear fiery statements that these resolutions are null and void; that we will not allow them to be passed; that we will thwart the conspiracy; and that the West Bank is Palestinian land. However, after making such claims, those behind them will continue their security cooperation with the Israeli intelligence agencies against the legitimate Palestinian resistance to the occupation. A meeting may even be called for “the leadership”, where they will study the most effective ways to respond to the Likud Party’s resolution; and so on.

The truth is that the Palestinian people are facing a political disaster, and a catastrophe no less brutal than the 1948 Nakba. The state of Israel did not appear out of thin air in 1948; it was founded after first establishing a presence on the ground over several decades. This is what is happening today. The Likud Party’s resolution did not fall out of the sky like rain, but was preceded by settlers ploughing the West Bank land over years of Palestinian complacency, security coordination and negotiations. It came after turning a blind eye to Israel’s actions and the suspicious silence over the years, waiting for the results of the actions on the ground.

The decision to annex the West Bank was a natural result of the Palestinian political approach that has enabled the Israelis to seize the land. As such, correcting the path taken not only means standing in the face of the Israeli decision, but also taking a firm stand in the face of the Palestinian policy that allowed the Israelis to make such a move in the first place. Furthermore, anyone contributing to the loss of Palestinian land must be held accountable, while every decision-maker who passed up the opportunity to resist the invaders and facilitated their safety in the West Bank must be punished.

We still make the mistake of saying that the Palestine Liberation Organisation recognised the state of Israel within the 1949 Armistice Line, which constitutes 78 per cent of historic Palestine. It is true that the PLO recognised the state of Israel, but it is a state which — uniquely — has still not declared where its borders are, and so they remain flexible enough to absorb any and all land resulting from a resolution annexing Palestinian or Arab territory. This highlights the fact — and it is a fact — that the Israeli state is not content with remaining within the 1949 Armistice Line. It is an expansionist state, operating according to its Chief Rabbi’s statement that, “Our borders are dictated by our footsteps.”

OPINION: As Israel prepares to annex most of the West Bank, Abbas bleats about ‘incitement’

The crime of recognising the state of Israel is a tragedy, as it gives advance recognition to all of Israel’s resolutions for the annexation of more Palestinian land, including the decision of the Likud party to annex the West Bank.

There is no salvation for the Palestinians from this Nakba or catastrophe other than through their salvation from their own political leadership, whose security coordination paved the way for the Likud resolution. Any talk to the contrary — of confrontation, complaint, rejection, condemnation and renouncement, along with calls for meetings or conferences — is all ridiculous and fruitless. This is an approach that disregards the blood of the Palestinian martyrs who bled on the land and shouted, “Let the political decision-maker who is holding the knife of the settlers to the throat of the Palestinian land be gone!”

(Source / 02.01.2018)

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