ISRAEL’S illegal annexation of Palestinian land due to start yesterday failed to materialise as the entire scheme was plunged into disarray.
July 1 had been set down by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the date when Israel would begin implementing Donald Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ which gave Israel the green light to annex over a third of the occupied West Bank and impose Israeli ‘sovereignty’ on the land and the Palestinians living there.
The deal gave the official seal of approval by US imperialism to all the land grabs and occupations made by the Israeli state since 1948, including the annexation of the Jordan Valley along with all the illegal settlements across the West Bank.
Despite having the power of US imperialism behind him however, Netanyahu has been forced to pull back at the last moment in the face of opposition from governments around the world and disquiet within Israel itself about annexation, which is illegal under international law and will be resisted to the end by the Palestinian people.
Even the Trump administration is reported to have broken ranks with Netanyahu and to have told him to hold off. A group of US senators have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning him that ‘Unilateral annexation in the West Bank would alienate US lawmakers and citizens.’
The letter also threatened ‘withholding funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements’.
Last month, the EU warned that some European states might impose sanctions against Israel over this flagrant breach of international law, while over 1,000 Euro MPs wrote last week saying ‘Acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020 and must have commensurate consequences’.
These MPs from 25 EU countries urged European leaders ‘to act decisively in response to this challenge.’
Even PM Johnson issued a last gasp plea to Israel to pull back from illegal annexation of the West Bank, warning it will fail to deliver ‘justice’ for Palestinians.
In an article in the Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot, Johnson said he was a ‘passionate defender of Israel’ but that ‘Annexation would represent a violation of international law. It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel.’
Warning about the danger to ‘Israel’s own long-term interests’ from the entire Arab people, Johnson wrote: ‘Annexation would put in jeopardy the progress that Israel has made in improving relationships with the Arab and Muslim world.’ He added if annexation went ahead the UK ‘will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines except those agreed between both parties’.
Johnson pointedly did not make any threats of sanctions against Israel if it went ahead, instead merely begging Netanyahu to work with the US to avoid an explosive conflict between the Zionist state and the Palestinians that would reverberate around the world.
The Trump administration is widely reported in the Israeli media to be working on the Israeli government to come up with a scheme to try and get the Palestinian Authority (PA) to accept limited annexation around existing illegal settlements and draw the PA into protracted meaningless negotiations while Israel continues its barbaric subjugation and land theft from the Palestinian people.
Every Palestinian body has rejected with contempt this deal and the PA has insisted that if it is carried out it will immediately declare the independent State of Palestine.
Those governments, including Britain, that have denounced Israeli annexation plans as illegal must put their words into action. Any attempt to carry out Trump’s deal must be met by these governments withdrawing all diplomatic, trade, military and financial transactions with Israel and by recognising the State of Palestine.
Workers must insist that the unions take the initiative by enforcing a complete boycott of all Israeli goods and services. In Britain, the TUC must tell Johnson that if he will not take action against Israel and immediately break all ties with it, then the TUC will call a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government that will immediately recognise the independent State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.