After the announcement that the city of Bayt al-Muqaddas (Jerusalem) is the capital of the occupying Zionist regime and the subsequent relocation of the U.S. embassy to this Palestinian city did not draw a decisive response from the global community and the world of Islam, in the second step, the Zionist regime attempted to put a veneer of legitimacy on the occupation of the Golan Heights by way of U.S. recognition of this occupation. Now, in the latest step, it has tried to legalize the annexation of the West Bank by making it a law in the Knesset. The chain of actions aimed at occupation by the Zionist regime is moving in a direction that further proves to the world the regime’s lack of respect for international commitments. Having started with this introduction in this Op-Ed, there is first a review of the various dimensions of the plan to annex the West Bank to the bogus country of Israel, and next the consequences of this plan for the Palestinians and the region at large have been described. At the end, this article discusses the solution to this problem.
The annexation of the West Bank, its nature and quality
When Benjamin Netanyahu promised Israeli voters during his election campaign in September 2019 that if elected, he would annex the West Bank to other occupied Palestinian lands, many analysts dismissed the announcement as an election promise to gain the support of right-wing extremists. The international community, and also the Arab and Islamic countries, limited their response to a mere warning in this regard.
Within less than a year, the possibility of annexing the West Bank made headlines once again. This time, the plan was to introduce and promote the idea in the form of a peace plan in order to gain legitimacy. Immediately after unveiling Donald Trump’s plan, known as the “Deal of the Century,” it was revealed that the plan guaranteed the annexation of the West Bank to Israel. For this reason, not only did it fail to gain the support of the Palestinians, but it was also condemned by many other countries.
This time, the plan to annex the West Bank has become a law for governments to implement following its approval by the Israeli Knesset, disregarding the fact that legalizing the annexation of the West Bank by the Israeli parliament (Knesset) does not legitimize this move.
The consequences of annexing the West Bank
The consequences for the Palestinians: Annexing the West Bank will directly affect the lives of the Palestinians. This plan will exacerbate the issue of displaced Palestinians, add to the flood of refugees in neighboring countries and will expose to further occupation a Palestine that has been the object of increasing occupation over the past 70 years. In addition, this will have another consequence for the Palestinians. Even those Palestinians who are most optimistic about the peace process with the Zionist regime will understand that as long as the Palestinian nation refuses to stand up to the occupying Zionist regime in unity and with strength, negotiations, division and disagreements will mean nothing other than the annexation of more lands and the perpetuation of the occupation. This is true about the Palestinian groups as well.
Without a doubt, one of the factors that has accelerated the movement towards unity between Palestinian groups and contributed to the resolution of disagreements among them in recent years is the unilateral policy of America in supporting Israel. Recognizing al-Quds as the capital of the Israeli regime, defying international laws, the announcement of the relocation of the U.S. embassy to this city and also recognizing the Golan Heights as an Israeli territory are all measures that took place during Trump’s administration, which caused Palestinian groups to reach the shared understanding that they have no alternative other than to unite and resist. If they still insist on the illusion of compromise, nothing will be left of Palestine.
Regional and international consequences: The first consequence of annexing the West Bank on the international level is that it further exposes the occupying, criminal nature of the Zionist regime to the global community. While the Zionist regime is trying to project an image of a government that is committed to international principles, it fails to respect even the most clearly stipulated international resolutions regarding Palestinian rights. And more importantly, it annexes territories that the international community and even Arab countries have warned it against annexing.
The start of the process of annexing the West Bank also has an important message for Arab countries that have pursued the dream of normalizing relations with the Zionist regime, who have organized such meetings as the Manama Summit, and who hope they can end the crisis in the region with measures like Trump’s Deal of the Century. This message is the message of Israel’s lack of commitment to any promise, agreement or peace treaty. Today more than ever before, it has become clear to the majority of nations that there is no honesty in the leaders of the regime’s speech when they talk about peace. As the regime’s Prime Minister has claimed, the path to the kind of peace that is intended by Israel includes the increasing annexation of Palestinian lands and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes to neighboring countries such as Jordan. Benjamin Netanyahu stated in the beginning of the swear-in ceremony of the coalition cabinet in the Knesset that imposing Israeli rule on the West Bank will not make peace more distant. It will bring it closer. This is what an Israeli peace means, increasing annexation of Palestinian lands!
Resistance, the only option
Annexation of the West Bank will not be Israel’s last step to further occupy Palestinian lands, but it is definitely the last shot at the peace initiatives. If the international community has any intention of stopping Israeli expansionism and wants to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all, as Imam Khamenei recommended doing more than two decades ago, there are still ways of achieving this goal. The first step to achieving peace in Palestine is the return of the Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homeland. The second necessary step is organizing an election with the participation of Palestine’s original people including Muslims, Christians and Jews. The third step is to form a political system through a referendum with the participation of the majority of the people, which can take Palestine towards peace and stability. Finally, the majority-elected government can make a decision on whether or not other people who do not originally belong to occupied Palestine should stay or return to their own countries. This three-step process is one that the international community can use to help reduce the pain and wounds that have been inflicted by the decades of occupation of Palestine.
However, since there is no willingness to achieve a just peace, the only way open before the liberated nations of the world is supporting resistance against the occupying regime. Today, the majority of the Palestinian people have realized that the West Bank, just like Gaza, needs to resist. As Imam Khamenei stated on July 23, 2014, “The Palestinians should display power in the face of the Zionist regime. No one should think that if it had not been for the missiles of Gaza, the Zionist regime would have stopped their incursions. This is not the case. Notice what they are doing in the West Bank. This is while there is no missile, weapon and gun in the West Bank. The only weapon that the people have there is stones. Notice what the Zionist regime is doing there. It is doing whatever it can…. The only cure that exists before the Zionist regime is annihilated is that the Palestinians manage to act in a powerful way. If they act in a powerful way, it is possible that the other side—which is this wolfish and violent regime—will retreat.”
Resistance against occupation is something that has been recognized in international laws and all liberated human beings in the world believe that a people whose country has been occupied are entitled to resist and to end that occupation.
Despite what the Zionist regime and America are trying to promote in their media campaign, the Zionist regime is in practice incapable of standing on its own feet militarily. As the Hezbollah Resistance Forces showed in 2006, and as other Palestinian resistance groups have shown, Arab and Islamic countries have the necessary power and tools to resist in the face of occupation.
Ending cooperation with the Zionist regime in matters of security and economics, withdrawal from international agreements such as the Oslo Peace Accord, which has become one-sided due to repeated violations by Israel, states and governments supporting resistance groups in the region, and boycotting products that are produced by this regime are some of the ways which liberated nations and awakened consciences throughout the world may use if they wish to put an end to the crimes of the Zionist regime.