Israel/Palestine: Towards Netanyahu’s fifth government, from occupation to annexation

Israel / OPT, Justice and the Rule of Law, Statement

Brussels, April 10, 2019

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to extend Israel’s sovereignty to areas of the West Bank, continue the occupation of the Palestinian territory and maintain Israeli settlements and outposts in place. In light of this promise, Netanyahu’s likely re-election as Prime Minister presents an increasing threat to realising Palestinian human rights, self-determination and sovereignty over land and natural resources, as well as a different horizon for Israelis and Palestinians.

Annexation has long existed de facto in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, alongside the systematic discrimination and dispossession of Palestinian rights. Netanyahu’s campaign simply promises to formalise this well-established situation – from occupation to annexation; from unequal rights to apartheid. A legalistic touch.

The Jewish Nation-State Law already provides the necessary legal justification for applying Israel’s sovereignty to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Besides declaring the right to exercise national self-determination as exclusive to the Jewish people, the legislation calls to promote Jewish settlements as a national and constitutional value. In practice, the continuous grabbing of Palestinian land in the West Bank has been implemented over decades of demographic and territorial changes, unrestricted settlement expansion, house demolitions and the forcible transfer of Palestinian communities. This is now complemented by several legislative and administrative measures that seek to extend Israel’s formal sovereignty to its West Bank settlements. The legal façade of compliance with the occupation framework is falling apart.

EU Member States’ exclusive focus on the Middle East Peace Process, based on a two-state solution, has hindered them from effectively addressing the severe human rights deterioration in Israel/Palestine. Netanyahu’s blatant remarks have shed light on the crude reality on the ground, leaping towards a situation of permanent occupation and domination, institutionalised discrimination and political exclusion. Such remarks should also open Europeans’ eyes to the urgent need for a policy paradigm shift towards the full realisation of human rights and equality in Israel/Palestine.

EuroMed Rights and its human rights member organisations call on European leaders to unequivocally recognise the serious institutional, legal and political implications of the incremental annexation and perpetual control of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and take effective measures to reverse it.