Jalal Abukhater, a writer based in East Jerusalem, talks to Conter about the Israeli plans for annexation of parts of the Palestinian West bank, and the plans for resistance.
The Israeli Government is planning an assault and annexation upon large swathes of the Palestinian West Bank from 1 July. The annexation would extend Israeli control over around 250 illegal Israeli settlements, as well as around 5 per cent of the 3 million strong Palestinian population. It will represent a major escalation in the decades old Israeli programme of ethnic cleansing, and is already being met by mass resistance.
Conter spoke to Palestinian writer Jala Abukhater in East Jerusalem about the coming assault and international solidarity.
1. What is the Israeli state planning to do in the West Bank?
Recent Israeli governments, mostly rightwing, have been pushing the idea of annexation of large parts of the West Bank. Donald Trump’s presidency provides an ideal situation for the israeli pro-annexation factions, for Trump has broken with US and international policies on the issue and adopted an extremist view, pandering to the Israeli rightwing.
2. Does the new offensive lead on from the settlement building projects?
Of course, it is all part of the same process that has been ongoing since Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in 1967. There had always been laws and policies passed for Israel to gain control over the largest parts of Palestinian land possible, and that includes building and expanding settlements, despite it being a war crime according to the fourth Feneva convention.
3. Doesn’t annexation of large parts of the West Bank threaten to destroy the current relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority?
There was never a mutually beneficial relationship between the two. Over the past fifteen years, the Israeli authorities squeezed out every ounce of benefit they could get out of the Palestinian Authority, to its detriment. The Israelis made sure to further entrench the occupation while the Palestinian Authority managed small civilian tasks and helped stop resistance against Israel in the West Bank.
The Israelis today are more prepared than before to handle the affairs in the West Bank in case the Palestinian Authority is unable to carry out its functions as an authority over an occupied people in small pieces of land, surrounded wholly by Israel’s military occupation.
5. How have the social movements in Palestine responded to the new threat?
There are calls for mobilizing more protests and days of anger by the popular resistance committees, the main Palestinian political parties and the Palestinian Authority as a whole. Of course, there is also the call to strengthen the global reach of the B.D.S movement, as well as to support the proceedings at international courts such as the ICC.
6. What can people around the world do in solidarity with the Palestinian people at this time?
At this moment, the most effective engagement to support Palestinian rights is to heed the BDS call in all or most of its aspects.