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Palestinians Deem as ‘Dangerous Aggression’ Israeli Annexation of Parts of West Bank

Palestinians Deem as ‘Dangerous Aggression’ Israeli Annexation of Parts of West Bank

Tuesday, 2 January, 2018 - 13:30
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

Palestinian officials, starting with President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the recent Likud Central Committee resolution to formally annex parts of the West Bank allowing unlimited settlement construction.

Officials considered the new decision a new aggression against the Palestinian people that derives its strength from the US administration’s for unlimited support.

The Israeli opposition slammed the resolution and warned of the repercussions that could "gamble with the peace."

Members of the Likud met without the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and unanimously approved the decision during a conference held at the Avenue Conference Center, near Ben Gurion Airport.

The resolution reads: “Fifty years after the liberation of Judea and Samaria, and with them Jerusalem, our eternal capital, the Likud Central Committee calls on Likud’s elected leaders to work to allow unhindered construction and to extend Israeli law and sovereignty in all the areas of liberated Judea and Samaria.”

Keynote speaker at the conference former cabinet minister Gideon Saar backed the resolution, saying that he believed West Bank annexation would be achieved “in just a few years.”

“Therefore, let us, the Likud, be the ones that lead it!” Saar said, adding: "Our task is to remove any question mark that remains over the future of the settlement movement.”

Labor and Welfare Minister Haim Katz stated: "Judea and Samaria and Greater Jerusalem … are an inseparable part of the land of Israel and will remain so forever."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the attendees that there is a moral right and obligation towards the settlers.

He added: "We will now promote the recognition of our sovereignty of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria ... We must begin to enact this sovereignty, we have the moral right and obligation towards our settler brothers."

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that it is time to impose sovereignty and "everything depends on us now."

He urged US President Donald Trump to "continue the backing you are giving to historical justice and truth! Support the connection of Jerusalem to Maale Adumim. There is no move more necessary and vital than that."

"A year ago we signed a bill proposal to apply Israeli sovereignty to Maale Adumim in order to create territorial contiguity between it and Jerusalem. There are those who seek to divide Jerusalem; we intend to expand it," he added.

Right-wing coalition parties Yisrael Beiteinu and the Jewish Home immediately echoed their support.

There are about 400,000 settlers living in the settlements, whom Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin said that cannot be ignored.

He vowed: “The land of Israel is all ours, and we will impose our sovereignty on all parts of the country.”

Abbas warned Israel that his country would this year take legal action against its “grave and systematic violations of international law,” adding that Palestine would also “revise agreements signed with Israel.”

He insisted that the Likud’s decision to call for annexation “could not be taken without the full support of the US administration, which has refused to condemn Israeli colonial settlements, as well as the systematic attacks and crimes of the Israeli occupation against the people of Palestine.”

The Palestinian government on Monday warned against the gravity of the Likud’s draft resolution.

"The Israeli occupation's escalation against our land and people is speeding up further," government spokesperson Yusuf al-Mahmoud said during a press statement

The Fatah movement also issued a statement from Ramallah on Sunday night, calling the Israeli party’s decision “a provocation.” It said this is a violation of international law, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334, adding that settlements are illegal and the Israeli government should know that.

“Unfortunately, Israel has taken advantage of the unacceptable decision regarding Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, and has used it to further extend its action by declaring war on the Palestinian people, Palestinian lands and Palestinian holy places,” the statement read.

The Hamas movement also attacked the Likud Central Committee’s vote, describing it as a part of “a policy of aggression against Palestinian rights.”

“This will make us hold more tightly on to our people’s rights and the option of resistance to confront and abort these projects,” it asserted in a statement.

The decision was also met with rejection within the Israeli Knesset. Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the Likud decision “irresponsible, impractical and unnecessary.”

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