1.8 million Palestinians live in Gaza, 360 square kilometers strip of land on the Eastern Mediterranean. 1.7 million Palestinians live in West Bank, five and a half thousand square kilometers west of the river Jordan. Both are the constituent parts of the land always known as Palestine.
When the UN General Assembly voted for the partition of the region between Jews and Palestinian Arabs in 1947, it was on a relatively equal basis but after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war only 22 per cent of land remained for Palestinian Arabs. In the sixth day war of 1967, Israel occupied both territories.
Palestine had always been one territory, after world war one the League of Nations mandated Britain to govern Palestine in 1992. In 1947 the United Nations partitioned Palestine into an area of Jewish land. Three Arab lands and Jerusalem were under International control. With the decades of separation living in the two territories started to display distinct social and cultural differences.
In 1967, Israel attacked Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Sinai, and the Golan Heights. As Israel occupied both Gaza and the West Bank, it began building settlements in both territories. Now those Palestinian territories are under Israeli military occupation. It’s Israel that decides who and what goes in or out and a whole lot more and this arrangement is considered illegal under International law. In more than 50 years Israel’s built at least 250 settlements. They are home to more than 600,000 Israeli settlers and all those compounds are connected by roads that only Israeli can use.
It means Palestinians are trapped on a patchwork of land blocked by Israeli separation walls and with limited freedom to travel. They have to get through Israeli military checkpoints. Now Israel wants to annex some of the territories meaning it will extend its sovereignty overland it already occupies. It is unclear which parts the Israeli government is eyeing but it could be as much as 30% of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley and maybe more.
Palestinians don’t have control of their resources, they don’t have control of their economy which means that Israel decides everything about their lives. More than 90% of Palestinians requests for construction are denied by Israel forcing them to build illegally on their land and once they constructed, Israeli immediately destroys that. It is a never-ending cycle. Israeli is not likely to recognize them as residents.
Palestinian says that if annexation will happen then life for them is going to get much harder. Palestinian fear more evictions. More Palestinians displayed, and even fewer rights. Israeli does not likely to recognize them as residents.
The Secretary-General of Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouti says,” the annexation if happens, means that Israel has declared itself as a country of apartheid – much worse apartheid than what prevailed in Saudi Africa.”
One of the biggest concerns for Palestinians is the annexation of Jordan Valley. It will give the Israeli military a strategic vantage point, full view, and control over the area plus total access to the vintage. It also means surrounding Palestinian territories in the West Bank and cutting off their access to water.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres had this to say: “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of International law, grievously harm the prospects of a two-state solution, and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations.” Even some settlers are against it but for a different reason. They believe the annexation means they won’t be able to build more settlements in the remaining West Bank and that Palestinians might finally get a state there. Palestinians refacing the worst atrocity. Israel has maintained a violent military occupation. Since 1967, the Israeli army has confiscated Palestinians land, arrested over 800,000 Palestinians, demolishes over 50,000 Palestinian homes, separated people from their families and livelihoods, and killed thousands.
Palestinians have no say in the Israeli policies that take their land and confine them to smaller areas. They need Israeli permissions to travel, to build homes, to trade with the world, to create infrastructure. They are policed by the Israeli military and have no civil rights or say in the government that controls their lives.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed that even after formally annexing these lands, any Palestinians living there will continue to be denied civil rights.
Annexing the West Bank could end up backfiring on Israel. Palestinians may give up the two-state solution and start demanding equal rights in one state. Israel would face more pressure than ever to give the millions of Palestinians living in the territories it occupies civil rights for the first time.
A recent UN ESCWA report which caused some controversy accused Israel of already being an “apartheid” and “racial” state because of this system of governance.
While living at their land Palestinians are not Israeli citizens and neither Palestinian citizens. They became permanent residents of Jerusalem but are essentially state-less.
There are more than 13 million Palestinians in the world today living under occupation, under blockade, as refugees and some as a citizen of other countries. The vast majority of them live unequal lives. Israeli military uses sound bombs and tear gas against the Palestinian who are protesting against the brutality by the Israeli military. They are brutally killing the children, some 1,048 children have been injured by Israeli Security Forces across the occupied Palestinian territory between 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020.
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