Protests over Israel’s Trump-backed plans to annex West Bank as Boris Johnson condemns move

Protests over Israel’s Trump-backed plans to annex West Bank as Boris Johnson condemns move

July 1, 2020

PROTESTS have erupted across the West Bank today as a Trump-backed Israel was stalled on plans to annex 30 per cent of the area today.

Israeli leaders set a date to start annexing parts of the heavily contested West Bank and Gaza strip from today during a cabinet debate back in May.

Boris Johnson has told Israel to back off of parts of the West Bank in spite of Trump giving the nod in January.

Johnson warned Israel that any attempt to annex occupied parts of the West Bank would violate international law and decimate its relations with the Arab world.

The plan was given the nod by the Trump administration under the internationally ridiculed US Israeli-Palestinian 'Vision for Peace' peace plan, hammered out by Trump's son in law Jared Kushner.

There has been rising speculation that the Israeli government would convene today to take action.

However, there's so far been nothing concrete from Washington on the scope and timing of the move, without whom Israel is unlikely to act.

Talks are ongoing and no cabinet session was scheduled for today, July 1.

Echoing a commons speech he made last month, Johnson slammed the potential move in an op-ed in a front page article of Israel’s top-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.

He said: “Annexation would represent a violation of international law.

“Annexation would put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world.”

He said the UK would not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders in the West Bank that were not agreed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

An Israeli cabinet minister, Ofir Akunis, confirmed that the annexation process would not begin on Wednesday, telling Israel’s Army Radio that officials were still working out the final details with their US counterparts.

He said he expected the annexation to take place later in July.

The West Bank and the Israel-Palestine conflict

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war.

Over 2.5 million Palestinians now live in occupied territories, in addition to nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers.

Israel already has annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not internationally recognised.

The international community, along with the Palestinians, overwhelmingly considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Peace talks between the two sides have been at a standstill since 2014, when a US-brokered attempt to reach a deal collapsed.

Donald Trump hopes to kick-start the process with a plan being worked on by son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The plan is made up of an economic portion, involving of $50 billion investment fund to be spent mostly in the Palestinian territories, and a political portion, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming months.

The announcement on Israeli settlements in the West Bank is the second occasion on which the Trump administration has publicly sided with Israel on a major ponit of contention.

In 2017, the president announced that the US would thereafter recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and in 2018 opened a new embassy in the city.

Johnson is calling for a solution that allows justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.

In the opinion piece, he said he has been “a passionate defender of Israel”.

Under the peace blueprint that Trump announced in January, Israel has said it intends to extend its sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, in up to 30 per cent of the territory.

Palestinians, who have rejected the Trump proposal, want to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel captured the disputed areas in a 1967 war, but then withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005.

Palestinian leaders, the United Nations, European powers and Arab countries have all denounced annexation and consider settlements that Israel has built on occupied land as illegal.

Israel disputes this, citing biblical, historical and political roots in the West Bank.

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