Debunking Israel’s Talking Points on its Plan of Annexation: “Annexation is illegal. Period”

Media Briefs
July 02, 2020
Debunking Israel’s Talking Points on its Plan of Annexation: “Annexation is illegal. Period

As Israeli officials campaign to advance their annexation plans, here we debunk a number of their arguments that aim to justify the theft of Palestinian lands and natural resources, and the denial of Palestine’s right to exist and our right to self-determination.


1. “It’s not annexation, its implementation of Israeli law.”

The application of Israeli law on any part of the occupied State of Palestine on the 1967 border is in itself an implementation of Israel’s false claim of sovereignty, which implies annexation. This is one of the euphemisms used by Israel, the occupying power, to cover up its grave violations of international law and mislead the international community.


2. “It’s not annexation because it is not occupied territory.”

Such rhetoric highlights the ethos of Israel’s law of the jungle. International law clearly defines the legal status of the Palestinian territory as occupied by Israel since 1967. This has been stressed by main international bodies, including the UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Accordingly, the current overwhelming international condemnations against annexation emphasize the fact that the Palestinian territory is an occupied territory.


3. “No decision (on annexation) has been made”

Israel’s process of annexation began in 1967, through which it has been expanding and consolidating its colonial-settlement enterprise and attempting to normalize it. Concerning the current situation, in addition to its colonial projects on the ground, there have been several clear announcements by Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister. Also, the Israeli government coalition agreement clearly stated that starting 1 July 2020, Israel’s Prime Minister would bring the Israel-US annexation plan for approval by either the government or the Knesset.  


4. “Israel will only be implementing sovereignty on the settlements blocs.”

Regardless of their size, every single Israeli settlement is illegal under international law. The term “settlement bloc” is a misleading Israeli term that suggests the normality of its colonial-settlements. Within the context of annexation, the term “bloc” is specifically designed to encompass settlements and the land between them, thus maximizing the land available for Israel's colonial settlement expansion.


5. “Sovereignty will only be implemented in areas that under any agreement will be part of Israel.”

Such references illustrate the logic behind the unilateral measures conducted by Israel to continue imposing illegal facts on the ground by means of preventing Palestine’s right to exist and to self-determination. It as well reflects the bad faith of the Israeli leadership and its true intentions against meaningful negotiations. The only way toward a just and lasting peace is the full end of Israel’s occupation towards Palestine’s independence. A redesign or a redefinition of Israel’s occupation is not an equivalent to peace, but to apartheid.

The areas Israel aims at annexing are integral for the State of Palestine, including the Jordan Valley, western Bethlehem, the eastern gateway to Jerusalem, and significant parts of the Salfit governorate. All of them include reserves of land, natural resources, and/or archeological, touristic, and agricultural resources.

Accepting such terms means killing any possibility for an independent, sovereign, and contiguous State of Palestine.


6. “Shouldn’t Palestinians accept “blocs” as facts on the ground and relinquish the 1967 border?”

No. The 1967 border is the only internationally recognized border between Palestine and Israel, which is based on a painful concession made by the PLO in 1988 to accept a state on only 22% of historic Palestine. This major concession, made for the sake of peace, appears to have been forgotten by many. In this context, the Israeli Annexation Wall and the so-called “settlement blocs” are part of a systematic policy of colonization that aims to destroy the prospects of an independent State of Palestine.


7. “Palestinians should accept to negotiate based on the US Plan in order to stop annexation.”

This is a contradiction in itself: The US Plan is about legitimizing the annexation of occupied Palestinian territory. Palestine has been clear about its readiness to negotiate a just and lasting peace based on a vision of freedom, justice, and equality, which requires respect for international law and relevant UN resolutions. This is a basic principle used by the international community in peace processes worldwide and Palestine should not be the exception.


8. “Annexation will promote peace, and Israeli settlements are not an obstacle to peace.”

Israel’s colonial-settlement enterprise and its associated infrastructure, comprising bypass-roads, annexation wall, movement restrictions, the extension of Israeli laws over settlements whether under a “de-facto” or a “de-jure” annexation, aim at the same goal: preventing the people of Palestine from exercising their inalienable right to self-determination. The US-Israeli Plan seeks a Palestinian approval to perpetuate Israeli control over the land and the people of Palestine.


Israel has respected its obligations until now, if they move ahead with annexation things will change.”

This seems to be the message of certain members of the international community. Israel’s systematic violations of international law, UN resolutions, and bilateral Palestinian-Israeli agreements have been largely documented by the international community, from the UN to human rights organizations.

Such a message implies the denial of decades-long Israeli violations and underlines the reluctance at taking any concrete measures against Israel’s colonial-settlement enterprise, wherein over 620,000 settlers live today, and the theft of Palestinian natural resources for the benefit of products and services of Israeli and foreign companies. Even in the case of annexation, and in addition to the occupied Syrian Golan, Israel has already annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Latrun Valley.

Israel’s policies and practices in occupied Palestine have been increasingly defined as a process of de facto annexation. The term was highlighted in the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which stated that the Annexation Wall and its accompanying regime created “a ‘fait accompli’ on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and notwithstanding the formal characterization of the wall by Israel, it would be tantamount to de facto annexation.”


Palestine’s position is in line with international law. Annexation is a threat to rules-based world order. On 29 June 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Michelle Bachelet, said: “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30 per cent of the West Bank, or five per cent”.

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