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400 Jewish Studies Experts Say Annexation of West Bank Lands Would Create "Apartheid Conditions"

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to annex up to 30 percent of Palestinian land in the West Bank including the Jordan Valley and all Jewish settlements. The United Nations, the European Union and the international community generally have warned Israel that the annexation plan violates international law and threatened sanctions.

Washington Post: "The annexation proposal has been widely condemned, with Jordan warning it would mean an end to its peace treaty with Israel, the European Union calling the move unacceptable and the Palestinians announcing they will suspend all previous agreements with Israel. Israeli security analysts have warned that the move could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, forcing Israel to resume civic control of almost 3 million Palestinian civilians, and maybe even to violence."

However, Donald Trump blessed Netanyahu's land grab in his much maligned Middle East peace plan, released in January. Netanyahu and the Trump administration are still hammering out details of the annexation plan, but according to recent reports the Israeli Prime Minister has told political allies that annexation could be ready for a vote in the Knesset as early as July 1.

Still, some Middle East experts think Netanyahu is simply posturing in order to keep the right-wing political parties within his governing coalition. Other commentators believe Netanyahu will follow through with his threat of annexation because Israel will likely never again have such a compliant partner in the White House. It's quite possible that the Prime Minister is truly undecided and will wait to see how the international community will react and the full price Israel will have to pay for annexation.

Yesterday, about 400 Jewish and Israel studies scholars released a letter meant to influence Netanyahu's decision. The academics denounced annexation, warning that it would amount to a “crime against humanity” under international law, and lead to apartheid within Israel. They argue that annexation is legally and morally indefensible.

A Letter on Annexation and Apartheid in Israel: "The undersigned are professors of Jewish Studies in North and South America, Europe, and Israel who have committed decades of professional life to the close study of Jewish history, culture, thought, religion, literature, politics, and society. Representing a spectrum of viewpoints, we write in opposition to the continuation of the occupation and the stated intention of the current elected government in Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, thereby formally (de jure) creating apartheid conditions in Israel and Palestine." ...
..."The most likely outcomes of annexation will be further unequal distribution of land and water resources on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements, more state violence, and fragmented Palestinian enclaves under complete Israeli control. Under these conditions, annexation of Palestinian territories will cement into place an anti-democratic system of separate and unequal law and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian population. Such discrimination on the basis of racial, ethnic, religious, or national background is defined as “conditions of apartheid” and a “crime against humanity” according to the International Convention on Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA, article 2, 1973) and also by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC, Article 7[1j] and the Introduction to Article 7 [2h], 1998)."

It's a powerful statement representing the views of some of the most influential Jewish studies scholars from North America, Europe and Israel, including many prominent professors. They understand that Israel risks losing any claim to "moral authority" within the international community.

#Israel #news #internationalrelations

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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