The Israeli regime will present a bill to the Knesset in the coming weeks, calling for the annexation of 60% of the occupied West Bank, the Maariv newspaper has revealed.
According to the paper, preliminary talks have been held to annex Area C of the West Bank where more than 350,000 illegal Israeli settlers are based.
The area is currently ruled by the military but an annexation would require Israeli law to be imposed and Palestinians living in the area to identify as Arab Israelis.
Many members of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet are fervently in favor of the annexation. Last week, minister of judiciary affairs Ayelet Shaked said she was working on a plan to apply Israeli law to Area C.
Naftali Bennett, the leader of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, also said, “It is better for Israel to begin annexing Area C.”
The Israeli occupiers of the Palestinian lands deem the West Bank as “liberated land,” saying formal annexation is only a matter of time.
In annexing the West Bank, Tel Aviv is stripping the Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas of power despite all the concessions he has made to the Israelis.
Under interim agreements signed in the 1990s with Israel, the West Bank is divided into three zones.
Area A, comprising about 18 percent of the land, is supposed to be run by the Palestinian Authority but Israeli troops and Shin Bet agents frequently mount raids inside the area.
Area B, constituting around 22 percent of the rural West Bank, is administered by the Palestinian Authority for its civil affairs and by Israel for its security issues.
Area C comprises over 60% of the territory and is totally run by the Israeli military even though it is home to 300,000 Palestinians, according to the United Nations.
Israeli officials claim there are only 50,000 Palestinians living there and therefore Israel could easily annex the territory.
Virtually all of the Israeli settler population of the West Bank of more than 350,000 is based in Area C.
The Israeli military almost never grants Palestinians living in Area C building permits. According to a UN report, more than 11,000 demolition orders are currently outstanding in Area C.
‘Greater Israel’ dream
Settlement expansion, on the other hand, has accelerated dramatically amid calls by Israeli ministers for official annexation of Area C. Within the settlements, giant placards are springing up reading, “Sovereignty! Now is the time.”
Deputy minister of military affairs Eli Ben-Dahan has demanded “the annexation of the West Bank because the Arab and regional situation is appropriate for this step.”
Netanyahu who was assumed until recently to be blocking such moves and continuing his policy of paying lip service to the so-called two-state solution is reportedly supporting the annexation.
According to Maariv, the Israeli regime has chosen this time for the move ahead of the US presidential election because American leaders would be too preoccupied to care about the situation in the Palestinian territories.
Israel is also relying on the deteriorating Arab situation, including the Takfiri campaign of terror and Arab leaders’ obsession with a Saudi-led confrontational approach toward Iran.
Inside the occupied territories, Israel has seen an extremist right-wing becoming more prominent, where voices calling for deportation of Palestinians and isolating them are rising.
Israeli leaders appear to be convinced that they have moved from conflict management and creation of facts on the ground to the imposition of their unilateral solution.
Tel Aviv thinks the time has come to fulfill its scheme of establishing the “Greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Takfiri link and Saudi-Israel ties
The Takfiri ravage in Iraq and Syria has surprisingly brought Saudi Arabia and Israel closer. Israel and Saudi Arabia have secretly met five times since the beginning of last year to discuss their positions against Iran.
Israeli minister of military affairs Moshe Ya’alon has declared that if he was to choose between Iran and ISIS (Daesh) – “I prefer ISIS.”
There are some observers who believe Daesh is a US-Israeli creation. The Takfiri group has almost consigned the Palestinian issue into oblivion with its phenomenal ferocity and violence as sought by its creators.
The emergence of Takfiri militancy has further prompted some regional leaders, including Saudis, to follow a sectarian agenda which is based on friendship with Israel and enmity with Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both key players in the Syria war and supporters of Takfiri groups, have interestingly moved to establish channels for interaction with Israel.
In a reflection of major change in policy under the new rulers, high-level officials from Saudi Arabia and Israel have spoken publicly about their shared enmity.
Despite the fact that the Saudi kingdom has never formally acknowledged Israel’s existence, the two sides have been quietly cooperating for years, exchanging intelligence on shared threats and in particular on Iran.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, and retired Israeli Army Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, a former adviser to PM Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke in Washington Thursday night at a discussion arranged by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The two men, sitting side by side on a stage, generally impassive while the other spoke, sparred only gently over the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Cooperation between Arab countries and Israel in meeting threats, from wherever they come, whether Iran, is better fortified if there is peace between the Arab nations and Israel,” Turki said.
Arab states, Amidror told Turki, should “cooperate with Israel instead of dictating” to it. He urged regional leaders to “think outside the box” and suggested the Arab world form an “umbrella of cooperation” with Israel.
The number of illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank has reached more than 700,000 and Israel is working at an accelerated pace to increase this to one million within a few years.
With the Tel Aviv regime moving to annex the West Bank, all eyes would be on Arab leaders to see how they would react to the calamity.