Arab Joint List in Israel opposes proposed annexation of parts of Palestinian West Bank

The Arab Joint List, the third largest political bloc in the Israeli parliament, has sought international intervention to stop the proposed annexation of large parts of West Bank territory by the Israeli government under prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu 

June 26, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Arab joint list opposes Israeli annexation plan
The Arab Joint List has 15 members in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, Knesset. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Arab Joint List in the Israeli parliament has opposed the proposed annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and has appealed to the Democratic Party in the US to take actions to prevent it. In a letter written on June 25, Thursday, addressed to the US Democratic Party, all 15 members of the Arab Joint List called the Israeli government’s annexation plan a “violation of universal values and norms”.

The letter further says that any move to annex parts of the occupied West Bank will “destabilize the region” and “heighten the tensions between Israel and Palestinians and between Israel and its neighbors.”

The Arab Joint List is made up of several parties in Israel, including Balad, Hadash, Ta’al and the United Arab List. It has 15 members in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, Knesset, and its primary support base is among the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Hadash, the largest among the parties of the Joint List, has communist leanings. 

The Joint List letter expresses apprehension that racial discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel will increase if the annexation plan goes ahead. “Structural institutionalized discrimination is a reality for Palestinians both inside Israel and Palestinians under occupation; its manifestation and practices differ-but acts such as home demolition, racist legislation or police violence have little respect for the Green Line,” Middle East Eye quoted the letter as saying.  

The letter also blames US president Donald Trump for encouraging the annexation, which he had proposed in January as part of his so-called “deal of the century.” Rejected by Palestinians as unilateral and biased, Trump’s plan proposes Israeli sovereignty over all the settlements built illegally inside the occupied West Bank and over the Jordan Valley. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often cited the “Trump deal” as the basis for his move.

While the US has not sanctioned the annexation “officially,” it has time and again said that it will not interfere in Israeli policy decisions. Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, reiterated this position on Wednesday and blamed the Palestinians for the situation.

The Democratic Party in the US has so far not formally denounced Israel’s annexation plan. Joe Biden, the party’s presidential candidate, has repeatedly refuted the demands put forth by human rights groups to announce conditions on US financial and military aid to Israel if elected, and to force Israel to end its occupation. Biden has also opposed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.