Fragmented by Donald Trump’s “historic” peace plan, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is trying to mobilize the international community against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex a third of the occupied West Bank. It is in this context that the Palestinians embarked on a diplomatic counter-offensive on Tuesday, combined with a halt to security cooperation with the Hebrew state.
The time is running out for the Palestinians, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahua promised that on July 1, the process of annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank, especially the Jewish settlement blocks and the Jordan Valley, began.
A unilateral initiative, perceived in the Palestinian territories as “an existential threat to [leur] future “, which would further fragment a reassembled West Bank, and would seal the end of the two-state solution, which the Palestinian Authority (PA) is still stuck with.
While their scope of action seems limited, Palestinian officials are trying to mobilize the international community. “It is about putting the Palestinian issue on the front of the international agenda, monopolized by the coronavirus, to counter Netanyahu’s plans,” explains France 24, a Palestinian diplomatic source in France 24, on condition of anonymity.
Israeli plans follow the logic of the “peace plan” presented by Donald Trump in late January, which, in addition to the annexation of the Jordan Valley, also creates a demilitarized Palestinian state in a limited and unrelated territory and without East Jerusalem as its capital.
“PA does not have many options for hearing at a time when the Arab world and the international community are staying away from this issue”, summarized in a chronicleMarwanMuasher, Vice President of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace.
“An international coalition against annexation”
It is in this context that the Palestinian diplomatic counter-attack was launched on Tuesday, June 9, Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh spoke with the announcement of the transfer of a “counter-proposal” at the US level for the Middle East to the quartet composed by the European Union. (EU), the UN, Russia and the United States, and proposes the establishment of a “sovereign, independent and demilitarized Palestinian state”.
For his part, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), SaëbErakat, said on Tuesday that he had met with representatives of Russia, the European Union (EU) and the UN to discuss the annexation project. He also gave them a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas “demanding the formation of an international coalition against the annexation and a meeting in all countries that oppose it.”
After interrupting “all their relations” with Washington in early February, following the announcement of President Donald Trump’s “historic” peace plan, noting that the top Arab powers no longer give preference to the Palestinian issue as before, PA concentrates efforts on Europeans . The EU, Israel’s first trading partner, expressed open opposition to the annexation plan and called on the Israeli government to abstain from it.
But the Palestinians demand more and urge the EU to take “serious and practical” measures to deal with annexation by imposing sanctions on the Hebrew state, in line with the sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. “For the first time, European politicians are discussing allied sanctions against Israel, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Tuesday, saying he hoped “Israel would feel international pressure”.
The PA is also campaigning for EU recognition of the State of Palestine at the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to prevent the Netanyahu government from joining parts of a sovereign and internationally recognized state.
On May 20, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had indicated that the Europeans were working “for a joint preventive measure and possibly to respond to this temporary decision on a coincidence”. Skepticism dominates the chances that EU members, completely covered by the Israeli-Palestinian issue by a general Trump administration, will reach a consensus on a common response and on possible sanctions.
“We know that we should not expect a diplomatic blast from Europeans divided on how to deal with Israel, but we expect a significant gesture as recognition of Palestine, as this will really complete the annexation process.” , said the above-mentioned Palestinian source.
The Palestinians not only try to rely on international pressure to give up the Israeli government and place local pressure on the Israeli government. It is for this purpose that President Mahmoud Abbas’s friends with their repeated threats of execution, no longer be bound by the agreements signed with Israel and the United States in protest of the plan to annex Benjamin Netanyahu.
He believed that Israel violated international law, as did all agreements signed with the PA, and considered that the Palestinians were no longer bound by these agreements, including those related to security, a sensitive issue for Israel’s eyes, for which security cooperation is crucial for control over the occupied West Bank.
“There has been no Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation at any level,” Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh confirmed at a press conference in Ramallah on Tuesday, June 9.
“This strategy is a way to raise the alarm, not only in the direction of Israel, but also for the international community, and to move the issue of Palestinian rights and the occupation forward,” emphasizes his side Marwan Muasher.
In Israel, the media reports that behind the scenes a certain number of Israeli security agents, in post or retirement, oppose the annexation in general, and in particular as a unilateral measure, which is afraid of repercussions on the ground, even collapsing by the Palestinian Authority which would throw the territory into chaos.
“The Israelis must abstain from annexation, this is the condition for cooperation to be resumed as before. If they proceed with their project, they will then assume in the eyes of the world that they have once again become an occupying power in the vast West Bank,” concludes the Palestinian diplomatic source. .