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Italian lawmakers call for urgent action to stop Israeli annexation plans in West Bank

The photo, taken on May 13, 2020, shows a partial view of the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. (By AFP)

A group of Italian lawmakers have called on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to join a widening international chorus of opposition to Israel’s controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and act urgently to stop the move.

Seventy parliamentarians, in a letter addressed to the 55-year-old head of government, asked him to denounce the Tel Aviv regime’s decision to annex the Jordan Valley and apply Israeli law to settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law.

They also urged the legislature to take appropriate measures, both at national and European Union levels, to prevent the annexation move, which seeks to pull the plug on the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the two-state solution.

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

Palestinian Ambassador to Italy Abeer Odeh, for her part, said the letter points to the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause and the rights of Palestinians, noting that it came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States earlier this week.

Odeh underlined that she is in constant contact with Italian politicians and lawmakers, and briefs them on the sufferings of the Palestinian nation, who face the regime’s discriminatory policies in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, daily raids by Israeli military forces, and the dire situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

OIC: Israel’s annexation plan will not serve peace process

Separately, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has underlined that any unilateral action by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank will not be beneficial to the so-called peace process, and would contravene internationally binding resolutions.

The 53-member international organization called on the international community, notably the UN General Assembly and Security Council, to take practical and urgent measures to prevent Israel’s colonial annexation of yet more Palestinian land.

It also stressed that a just, durable and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue can only be achieved through the Arab Peace Initiative, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and is based on the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in favor of establishing the independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

‘Israel’s acts of aggression will spark off popular uprising anytime’

Moreover, Palestinian legislator Husni al-Burini has warned against Israel’s acts of aggression and suppressive measures in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds, stating that such behavior will eventually provoke a popular uprising.

Burini said Israel has already started to annex the West Bank, and did not stop its settlement expansion activities even when it was engaged in talks with the Palestinians.

He underlined that Israel’s repressive measures are aimed at dislodging Palestinians from their lands.

“Palestinian people are undergoing difficult and unstable conditions, and there is obvious failure and reluctance by the Arab world. But we are still confident that the Palestinian people will stand up to these conspiracies and the plan to annex the West Bank,” the lawmaker said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, 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.

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