The Hamas movement has called for a broader unity among Palestinians to confront Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank from July 1. Addressing the media on Monday June 15, senior Hamas official and member of its political bureau, Salah al-Bardawil said that a united struggle will bring the “Palestinian project back on track.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that his government will start the process of extending Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and in areas of the occupied West Bank where illegal Israeli settlements are located beginning on July 1. According to the announcements, at least 30% territory of the West Bank will be annexed by Israel.
The building of the settlements inside the occupied territories and their annexation is illegal as per international law. It is also in violation of successive UNSC resolutions. Despite this, Israel has dared to go ahead with its annexation plan primarily due to support extended by the US.
On June 9, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas political bureau, asked all Arab countries to come together and confront the Israeli annexation plan.
“We call for the annexation project to be confronted with resistance in all forms,” Salah al-Bardawil said on Monday.
While Hamas emerged victorious in the 2006 elections, it took control over the Gaza strip in 2007 due to disagreements with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). Almost 1.9 million Palestinians currently live in the Gaza strip.
Several rounds of negotiations between Hamas and Fatah, the main party within the PLO, have not yet yielded any long-term political solutions. In 2014, a unity government was created under prime minister Rami Hamdallah. However, it failed to last long and was dissolved by president Mahmoud Abbas in June 2015.
It has been argued that the Israeli administration has exploited the divisions between Hamas and PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, to expand its occupation. Many believe that the resolution of these differences will strengthen the Palestinian struggle.
Salah al-Bardawil highlighted that “Palestinian unity is the bedrock of national strength through which the annexation can be resisted and foiled” and “it is the duty of each free Palestinian Citizen to rise up against this flagrant aggression on our land.”
The PA has also opposed the annexation plan and given similar calls as Hamas for a united Palestinian resistance. It has also urged the international community to come together on a common platform to oppose the Israeli move in the UN General Assembly.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes and artillery reportedly bombed the Gaza strip late on Monday night. Though no casualties were reported, destruction of infrastructure and property has been reported by Palestinian WAFA news agency.