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Israel’s annexation plan means end to peace illusions: Palestinian official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A picture taken from the E1 corridor, a super-sensitive area of the occupied West Bank, shows Israeli settlement of Maale Adumin in the background on February 25, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Israel’s controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank means an end to peace efforts and the so-called two-state solution, a senior Palestinian official says.

Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestine National Initiative, gave an interview to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) on Sunday, where he argued, “The annexation plan also means the end of two illusions — the first is the wagering on the US as a mediator of the so-called peace and the second is the possibility of reaching a compromise with the Zionist movement, which is sending an obvious message that it wants all Palestine and Jordan.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli appropriation to settlements in the West Bank and annexing the Jordan Valley.

Barghouti further described Israel’s annexation plan as “a message to everyone imagining that we are in the process of finding a solution with the Zionist movement and the occupation.” 

The reality, he stressed, is that “Palestinians are in an ongoing struggle and confrontation.”

“The Palestinians must put aside their differences and join forces quickly because the Israelis will try to devour us one by one and one group after another,” he added.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

But Israel's aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on Friday lambasted recent pro-occupation statements by the US ambassador to Israel, who reaffirmed Washington's full support for the annexation of the West Bank and said the Tel Aviv regime had a “right” to do so.

Hamas spokesman Hazen Qasem strongly slammed Freidman's remarks, describing them as a “violation of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights", stressing that they were in line with the White House's policy of falsifying facts to further serve Tel Aviv’s agenda.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Netanyahu has repeatedly pledged to annex all the Palestinian territories on which Israeli settlements are built in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli prime minister has voiced confidence that the United States would give Tel Aviv the nod to move ahead with the annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The European Union and the United Nations have already denounced the plan.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned Israel's controversial plan to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying the move will shut the door on possible "peace negotiations" with the Palestinians.

Guterres made the remarks in a recent meeting with the Arab Group delegation, including Oman, the Arab League and Palestinian officials, denouncing Israeli settlements and the looming annexation plan as illegal.

He noted that the annexation proposal will “effectively end the [so-called] two-state solution and close the door on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

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