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Statement on the planned annexation of the West Bank

by Die LINKE Federal Working Group for a Just Peace in the Middle East

Israel's "Security Fence", "West Bank Barrier", is a solid wall along 5% of it's length. 10 meters high and reinforced concrete. Photograph: Justin McIntosh. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Federal Working Group for a Just Peace in the Middle East of Die Linke Party condemns the Israeli Coalition Agreements planned annexation of land in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank.

On the 20th of April Benjamin Netanjahu and Benjamin Gantz signed an agreement forming the Unity Government. It will mean the annexation of all 128 Settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley - the “Corn Basket” of Palestine. It will also ensure that Netanjahu, who is facing three separate charges of corruption, gains legal immunity for years to come.

With this, a third of the West Bank will come under the jurisdiction of Israel. The only condition being its endorsement by the United States Administration. And promptly, as was to be expected, on the 25th of April the US State Department did indeed give its blessing. There has been talk of consultations with other Governments, but, as has always been the case, their protests will be ignored. A dialogue with the Palestinians - is not even mentioned.

It is no secret that the majority of parties in the Knesset favor the annexation of Palestinian lands. Though blatantly illegal, a large parliamentary majority is guaranteed. The Trump Administration has recognized Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights. It also disputes the illegality, under International Law, of Israel’s settlement projects. The US Middle East Plan laid the groundwork for Israel’s annexation project.

As far as the official US advocacy of a Palestinian State was concerned, this was the final nail in the coffin. Palestine will be deprived of East Jerusalem as its Capital City. What remains, will have no sovereignty over its own borders. Even its access and connecting roads will be outside its control. It will have no way of defending itself from Israeli aggression. The resulting entity, will not resemble a sovereign state, rather, it will be a colony in all but name.

The international community in general, and the German Government in particular, have sat idly by as The Separation Wall and settlement policies have eviscerated Palestine. The confiscation of lands, and ethnic cleansing over the decades were only possible through the active connivance of this same International Community. The “concerns” expressed, left not the least impression on the Israeli Government.

European governments warned last September that the annexation of any parts of the West Bank, would be a serious breach of International Law. This warning, as all others which preceded it, was ignored. Palestine is a state, it fulfills the criteria to be considered as such. Indeed, it is recognized by 128 Countries, yet, the German Government still stubbornly refuses to grant recognition.

Not only this, it has also done all in its power to block the investigation and prosecution of Israeli War Crimes and Human Rights violations. The Chief Prosecutor, Fatau Bensouda, of The International Criminal Court in the Haag, now has recognized its Jurisdiction over Palestine. This allows for a legal challenge, under International Law, to the annexation, to be initiated.

There is only a narrow window of opportunity. The new Israeli coalition aims to rush through the legislation before the November US presidential election. The Oslo Agreement, already meaningless, will be dealt a legal Coup de Grace. If the German Government wished to regain a shred of credibility for its Middle East policies, it cannot, yet again, stand idly by.

For decades the German Government has paid lip service to the Two State Solution, now, in broad daylight, it seems prepared to watch as it is finally put to rest. We as the Federal Working Group for a Just Peace in the Middle East of Die Linke are demanding that the German Government give effective protection to the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinians. These same rights, laid out in numerous UN resolutions, are yet again, being ignored by the German Government.

The German Government imposed sanctions on Russia for its union with the Crimea, yet, turns a blind eye to Israel’s theft of Palestinian land. This, will not only be a grievous infringement of International Law, it will open the door to a new round of ethnic cleansing, a repeat of the bitter Palestinian Nakba. Those who stand back, and allow this to transpire, without objection or action, will be culpable.

In Israel itself, there has been a wave of protest against the Coalition plans. The annexation would, not only, mean the death knell of any future peace, it will set Israel on the slippery slope to a de facto apartheid state. These are the words of 56 former Knesset Deputies and Ministers. Similarly, 300 former Israeli generals, officers and Mossad Chiefs signed a letter protesting the plans.

In Great Britain, a cross party group of 127 former and sitting parliamentarians, among them former Ministers and diplomats, have demanded in a letter that Britain take a leading role in upholding International law. Boris Johnson must make clear, that annexation is illegal under International Law, and will illicit serious consequences, up to, and including sanctions.

We demand that the German Government also threaten consequences. It should demand that the EU-Israel Agreement be put on hold. Israel must guarantee it will abide by the provisions on Human Rights and International Law in Article II of that agreement. Germany should end military cooperation and curtail all future transfers of military equipment. In addition, we demand that Germany finally recognizes Palestine as a sovereign State.

The time for talking has passed, the German Government has, for too long, be an accomplice to blatant and egregious breeches of International Law. A complete withdrawal from the illegally occupied lands, and not annexation, is what should be happening.

The “Federal Working Group for a Just Peace in the Middle East” is part of the “Federal Working Group Peace and International Politics”. It was formed in 2011 by members of Die Linke and likeminded activists.

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