Palestine forms committee over possible land annexation by Israel

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (Photo: UN/IANS)

Ramallah, May 10 (IANS) A special committee has been formed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to follow up on the state’s measures in response to Israel’s threat to annex parts of the West Bank.

Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Abbas’s Fatah party Central Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said on Saturday that the committee is scheduled to meet this week to determine its next steps and submit its recommendations to the PLO Executive Committee, deemed the highest political level in Palestine, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The next days might bring along an entirely new phase, that we must face with a united front in order to prevent the Israeli decision from taking place,” al-Ahmad said.

He warned that the anticipated Israeli annexation decision would have grave political, economic and security repercussions.

The new Israeli government is expected to present its decision to Parliament on Wednesday, including the issue of annexing large areas of the West Bank and applying Israeli sovereignty on the settlements in the occupied territories.

Al-Ahmad mentioned that Abbas told the PLO’s Executive Committee during its meeting on May 7 that all agreements with Israel and the US will be annulled if the former advances its plan of annexation.

He held the US government responsible for the actions of the Israeli government because it “undermines international legitimacy and the chances to achieve peace”.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement with Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White Party, to form a unity government.

They both agreed to impose Israeli sovereignty on the territories, which they called as “part of the historic lands of Israel” as of July 1.

On May 7, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that American President Donald Trump’s administration supports Israel’s application of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Friedman said that the terms of Israel’s sovereignty declaration will be recognized by the US, adding that mapping of West Bank areas designated for annexation will be accompanied by an Israeli freeze on construction in Area C, which is under Israeli control within the West Bank.

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