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Israel postpones controversial West Bank annexation

July 1, 2020 at 7:25 pm

Palestinians in Gaza come together to demonstrate against Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank, 1 July 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israel has postponed its controversial plan to annex portions of the West Bank, the country’s regional cooperation minister said Wednesday, Anadolu reports.

Annexation “will certainly happen in July,” but it has to be done in partnership with the US, Ofir Akunis told Army Radio.

The annexation “will only happen after a declaration by [US President Donald] Trump,” he added.

The annexation was scheduled to be declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

However, uncertainty surrounds Netanyahu’s position in light of widespread international rejection to the plan along with differences with the US administration on its application.

#NoToAnnexation: Activists reject Israel’s West Bank annexation plan 

In 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and in 2019, the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel, both announcements met with worldwide criticism.

Encouraged by Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” proposal, this May Netanyahu announced that Israel would formally annex the Jordan Valley and all settlement blocs in the West Bank.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is viewed as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there – as well as the planned annexation – illegal.

Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with annexation, which would further undermine a two-state solution.

Turkey and much of the international community do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories it has occupied since 1967.