After three indecisive elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponent Benny Gantz agreed to form a unity government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the central pillars of this new regime is the unlawful annexation of the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The annexation has the full backing of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Using the time when the world has been busy confronting the COVID-19 pandemic to commit more war crimes is immoral and poses new challenges for the rule of law and human rights,” Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), told Truthout.
The annexation, slated to begin in July, will ostensibly include about 30 percent of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, and Jewish settlements containing over 620,000 settlers.
Both the United Nations and the European Union cautioned Israel that annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank would be illegal. Nickolay Mladenov, UN special Middle East envoy, said such action “would constitute a serious violation of international law.” Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, noted that EU countries don’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Palestinian territory, adding it would “continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”
Moreover, the new deal requires that the U.S. government agree to Israel’s illegal annexation, making Trump complicit in the commission of Israel’s war crimes.