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)
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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.

Wife of British-born ‘aid worker’ demands Syria rebels release him

Updated 1 min 8 sec ago

Wife of British-born ‘aid worker’ demands Syria rebels release him

  • Tauqir Sharif, 33, was detained on June 22 by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS)
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sharif was detained over his alleged ties with rival rebels

ATME: The wife of a self-described aid worker stripped of his British nationality has called for his release after he was detained by rebels in Syria’s last major rebel bastion.
Tauqir Sharif, 33, was detained on June 22 by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a dominant group in Syria’s northwestern region of Idlib, his supporters say.
“We haven’t been given anything from HTS to even say what the allegations are” against him, his wife Racquell Hayden Best told AFP in the town of Atme, adding that she had been scrambling for information on his detention.
“We have heard ourselves that he is innocent. If he is an innocent man, why are you holding him in prison?” she asked.
Sharif, whose father is originally from Pakistan, hails from Chingford on the eastern outskirts of London and first arrived in Syria in 2012, according to the Live Updates From Syria organization he founded with his wife.
Britain stripped him of his British nationality in 2017, accusing him of links to an Al-Qaeda-aligned group it did not specify, the British press has said, but Sharif has denied the allegation.
HTS has not commented on Sharif’s detention, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the group and other fighters in the Idlib region.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said Sharif was detained over his alleged ties with rival rebels.
A fragile cease-fire has since March stemmed a Russia-backed regime offensive against Idlib.
The region is home to some three million people, a large proportion of whom have been displaced from their homes by Syria’s nine-year-old war and are dependent on humanitarian aid.