Israel's cabinet meets to finalise annexation plans for occupied West Bank

WION Web Team Israel Jun 28, 2020, 03.11 PM(IST)

File photo of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The West Bank, which the Jewish state has occupied since the 1967 Middle East war, is home to as many as 3 million Palestinians and roughly 430,000 Israeli Jews living in scores of settlements.

Israel's cabinet will meet on Sunday to finalise plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank despite facing criticism and threat of sanctions for it.

According to Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Israel will ''apply sovereignty'' to up to 30 per cent of the West Bank, covering Israeli settlements and the rich agricultural lands of the Jordan Valley, from 1 July, in line with US President Donald Trump’s controversial so-called "Middle East plan".

Despite Netanyahu’s pledge to give the order to annex on Wednesday, he may be forced to dilute or delay the proposal after three days of deliberations at the White House last week ended without an endorsement.

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Netanyahu had been counting on the backing of the Trump administration after it unveiled its “vision for peace” six months ago which said Jewish settlements in the West Bank, illegal under international law and the Jordan Valley would be incorporated into Israel.

The West Bank, which the Jewish state has occupied since the 1967 Middle East war, is home to as many as 3 million Palestinians and roughly 430,000 Israeli Jews living in scores of settlements.

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The plan, announced in January, proposes to establish a demilitarised Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories.

This does not include occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinian Authority (PA) claims as the capital of a state it seeks.

Trump's Middle East plan has been largely met with scepticism and was rejected by Palestinian leaders, but Israel has taken it as a show of support for its plans to seize and extend its sovereignty over the occupied land.

On Friday, two rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel a day after the Palestinian group Hamas warned that annexation amounted to a “declaration of war”. In response, Israeli air force jets struck two military facilities in the southern Gaza Strip, the army said.

The head of Mossad, the Israeli secret service, visited Amman last week to discuss the annexation plan with King Abdullah of Jordan after he warned of a “massive conflict” with Israel if it proceeded.