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The West Bank: Israeli annexation, the deal of the century and the pursuit of Hamas

14 9 1

The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has announced that his country understands Israel’s need to have dominant security control in the West Bank as part of any peace agreement reached with the Palestinians. He said that this is because Washington understands the threat to Israel’s existence if Hamas ever took control of the occupied Palestinian territory in the way that it has controlled the Gaza Strip following the evacuation of Israeli settlers in 2005.

This suggests that the “deal of the century” includes a clear position that Israel will not withdraw from the West Bank to ensure that it does not come under Hamas rule. That is also consistent with recent Israeli statements about its protection of the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, which would fall immediately into Hamas hands if such protection is lifted.

Will the status of the West Bank within the so-called “deal of the century” give Israel the right to remain therein, with its “withdrawal” a mere theoretical formality? What will be the position of the PA and the credibility of US and Israeli security concerns regarding Hamas’s ability to take control of the occupied territory, as well as the extent to which the Palestinian movement has the military, popular and organisational capacity to overthrow the PA, despite being pursued by the Authority’s and Israeli security agencies?

Pompeo: Imposing Israel sovereignty over West Bank won’t harm ‘deal of the century’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas does not hide his disappointment and frustration at the results of the Israeli General Election. He pushed strongly, albeit indirectly, for the defeat of Benjamin Netanyahu and declared implicitly that the Israelis should vote for the option of peace. All the PA positions pointed towards Israelis choosing any candidate other than Netanyahu.

The election results and the start of the discussions about forming a new coalition government coincide with the leaks regarding the details of the US deal being announced soon. There has also been talk about the future status of the West Bank, especially given the current political situation which is considered to provide an opportunity for Israel to declare sovereignty over the Palestinian territory.

It is important to note the special relationship between Israel and the current US administration, as well as their partnership in political projects. We must also keep in mind the historic measures being taken by President Donald Trump, such as moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the cessation of funding for Palestinian refugees through the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and, most recently, the recognition of Israeli........

© Middle East Monitor