Israel’s plan to annex more land from the illegally occupied West Bank will bring a new calamity for Palestinians, similar to their mass exodus in 1948, known as Nakba, thinkers and prominent politicians say.
“The annexation of Jordan Valley is an attempt to complete the catastrophe of 1948 and to completely liquidate the Palestinian cause,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
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May 15 marks the day hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries, which ushered in the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
The 72nd anniversary of Nakba has come at a time when an extreme right-wing government in Israel looks to expand its territory to the Jordan Valley.
Ashrawi, who served as an official spokesperson of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace process in the early 1990s, blamed the US government, saying it was a partner in crime at a time when the world was preoccupied with the outbreak of coronavirus.
“There are some international moves and threats to Israel. There are European countries that will move and will not remain silent in the face of annexation in addition to Jordan’s recent threat to Israel in case of implementing the annexation, which poses an existential threat because the annexation will be applied on the Jordanian border also,” she said.
Palestinian food security
Ashrawi blamed Israel for carrying out ethnic cleansing in the Jordan Valley and destroying everything that belonged to Palestinians there.
As many as 50,000 Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley own about 12,355 acres of agricultural land.
This land constitutes half of the total agricultural land providing food security to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
The Jordan Valley attends to nearly 60 percent of the vegetable requirements of Palestinian areas.
According to Israeli plans, the annexation will take place on July 1, as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his newfound ally Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White alliance.
Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with its plans, which will further undermine the two-state solution.
The annexation comes as part of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan announced on January 28.
It refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognises Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the occupied West Bank.
The plan envisions the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected through bridges and tunnels.
Palestinian officials say that under the US plan, Israel will annex 30 to 40 percent of the occupied West Bank, including all of occupied East Jerusalem.
The plan drew widespread criticism from the Arab world and was rejected by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which urged all member states not to engage with it, or to cooperate with the US administration in implementing it in any form.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that if Israel will not abide by the agreements, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will also walk out from these agreements.