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Israel’s Likud submits bill to Knesset to annex more Palestinian land

The file photo, taken on January 27, 2020, shows a general view of the Israeli settlement of Maale Efrayim in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. (By AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has submitted a bill to the Knesset that calls for occupying more Palestinian territories against the backdrop of a much-condemned peace scheme proposed by President Donald Trump of the United States emboldening Israel to usurp more Palestinian land.

Lawmaker May Golan from Likud handed the document to the parliament on Sunday.

The bill urges imposition of Israel’s “sovereignty” over the Palestinian regions of the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea area and the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Monday.

“This is an area that is a political, security, and economic asset, and there are thousands of Zionist Israelis and true pioneers who are an integral part of” Israel there, Golan claimed.

Netanyahu, in several occasions, has stressed that he would start plans for annexing more areas in the West Bank on July 1, according to Trump’s plan, commonly known as the “Deal of the Century.”

Defying international outcry, Trump officially unveiled his the proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January at the White House with Netanyahu on his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.

Trump’s Middle East scheme largely meets Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allowing the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Officially known as the “Peace to Prosperity,” the proposal, which further denies the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their homeland, is also in total disregard for UN Security Council resolutions and the opposition by the vast majority of the international community.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Golan said the document was “intended to rectify the existing situation and end all historical injustice. I have no doubt that there is a broad consensus in all parts of the Knesset that supports the proposal and it is time to implement it.”

Citing Israel's Channel 7, the report said Economy Minister and Knesset Likud member Eli Cohen had also put some weight behind the initiative.

David Elhayani, the chairman of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, has applauded Golan, who received an exemption from the initial reading of the bill on Sunday.

“The proposed law would apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank) and the Jordan Valley without recognition of a 'Palestinian state' that endangers the future of” Israel, he said.

Furthermore, Elhayani urged all Knesset members to "stand behind the bill" and "to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, God forbid," claiming that the bill does not refer to Trump's peace scheme, as it claims to ensure the establishment of a “two-state” solution.

Palestinian leaders – who severed all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel proved controversial – immediately rejected the Trump ‘deal,’ with President Mahmoud Abbas saying it “belongs to the dustbin of history.”

They view the deal as Washington’s seal of approval for Israel’s long-desired annexation of territories it has been illegally occupying for decades.

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