The Arab League said Thursday Israel’s controversial proposal to annex much of the West Bank constituted a “new war crime” against the Palestinians, during a virtual conference chaired in Cairo.
“The implementation of plans to annex any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including the Jordan Valley… and the lands on which Israeli settlements are standing represents a new war crime… against the Palestinian people,” Arab foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
The Arab League also urged the United States to “withdraw its support in enabling the plans of the occupying Israeli government”.
The Arab League: Functions & powers
Arab League is a regional organization of Arab states in the Middle East and parts of Africa, formed in Cairo on March 22, 1945, as an outgrowth of Pan-Arabism.
The aims of the league in 1945 were to strengthen and coordinate the political, cultural, economic, and social programs of its members and to mediate disputes among them or between them and third parties.
The signing on April 13, 1950, of an agreement on joint defense and economic cooperation, also committed the signatories to the donation of military defense measures.
The league has frequently voiced concerns about Israeli intentions.
The Arab League was forced to adapt to sudden changes in the Arab world when popular protests known as the Arab Spring broke out in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa in late 2010 and early 2011.
"The implementation of plans to annex any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including the Jordan Valley..& the lands on which Israeli settlements are standing represents a new war crime…against the Palestinian people"#Group4Palestinehttps://t.co/0F3BqkKkNs
— @DublinActivist Palestine (@dublinactivist) May 1, 2020
Trump’s ambitious Peace Plan to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict
US President Donald Trump in January unveiled a controversial peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel’s prime minister called the plan the “opportunity of the century” and said he was willing to endorse it as the basis for negotiations with the Palestinians.
Mr Trump said the criteria included “adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists”.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) said the US plan “recognises Israel’s illegal colonisation and annexation of occupied lands belonging to the State of Palestine”, while Israeli human rights group B’Tselem warned that Palestinians would be “relegated to small, enclosed, isolated enclaves, with no control over their lives”.
Rejected by the Palestinians and condemned by much of the international community, the plan gives Israel the green light to annex Jewish settlements and another strategic territory in the occupied West Bank.
An Israeli coalition government agreement reached last week includes a framework for implementing the annexations outlined in the plan. The West Bank annexation remains the major scuttle between Israel and Palestine.
Such annexations would violate international law and likely inflame tensions in the volatile region.
The Palestinians would be granted a sovereign but demilitarized state in the remaining parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, along with promises of major investment.
The Palestinian state’s capital would be on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the contested holy city, which would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.
Palestinians fear the Al-Aqsa Mosque and surrounding compound — Islam’s third holiest site — would be effectively under Israeli control.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki cautioned against the annexation during the Arab League meeting, saying it would “end the two-state solution”.
He said the move would “turn the battle from a political one to an endless religious war… that will never bring about stability, security or peace to our region”.
On Monday, the United States said it was ready to recognize Israel’s annexation of key parts of the West Bank, but also asked the new unity government to negotiate with the Palestinians.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk