Israel’s annexation plans expected to spur new violence in West Bank

Palestinians gather in the West Bank city of Nablus on June 3 for a protest against Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. (AFP / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)
Short Url
Updated 05 June 2020

Israel’s annexation plans expected to spur new violence in West Bank

  • Israeli media fears it may lead to outbreak of a military confrontation

NABLUS: With Israel planning to annex the West Bank, there are possibilities of a broad Palestinian confrontation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that may include a military confrontation.

This raises concerns about the Palestinians’ ability and willingness to fight a comprehensive confrontation that may lead to a “third intifada.”

Observers believe that Palestine is suffering from crises, most notably the ongoing internal division since the Hamas takeover of Gaza after bloody fighting with forces loyal to its rival Fatah in mid-2007, which may cease the outbreak of a new intifada.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi on Wednesday warned his forces to prepare to deal with a possible escalation in the Palestinian areas.

According to Haaretz, Israeli political and military forces are busy with discussing expected scenarios in conjunction with the implementation of the decision to impose Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and large parts of the WestBank.

Among these scenarios is cutting ties with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and large-scale confrontations in the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to the most dangerous scenario, which is the outbreak of a military confrontation, according to the Hebrew newspaper Israel Today.

Earlier this year, Israeli and within the peace plan producedformation of a joint committee map the areas of Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territories American officials announced the by US President Donald Trump’s administration.

On May 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while taking his constitutional oath to the Knesset, said it was time to annex settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded by announcing that the PA has become dissolved from all agreements and understandings with the US and Israeli governments. This dissolution, he said, refers to all previous obligations, including those related to security.

A member of the Revolutionary Council of the Fatah, which is led by Abbas, Abdullah Abdullah, told Arab News that the political leadership took important decisions.

Abdullah added that the Palestinian people will be in harmony with its leadership if Israel implements its plan: “(It will be) 100 percent if there will be a broad confrontation.”

On the negative impact of the internal division on this confronta- tion, Abdullah said: “The leadership has removed the excuses of Hamas, including security coordination, and this is our battle and it must determine whether it will be part of the battle of dignity or will hinder it, but we will not wait for it and go our way.”

Iyad Al-Qara, a political colum- nist close to Hamas, said Israel has estimated that the West Bank is conducive to escalation, especially if the PA stops security coordination.

He added that implementation of the annexation plan may encourage armed security members to join the confrontation.


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.