Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.

President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images)

The Elders Issue Scathing Rebuke of Israel's Trump-Approved West Bank Annexation Plan

"The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only ever be solved by finding a solution that guarantees peace, security, rights, and dignity to both peoples. Unilaterally seizing territory and ignoring international law achieves precisely the opposite."

Andrea Germanos

A group of former global leaders known as The Elders on Monday decried Israel's new West Bank annexation plan, calling the proposal an affront to international law that further dims the prospect of regional peace and represents "a unilateral repudiation of the two-state solution."

The new statement from The Elders, an independent group founded by the late Nelson Mandela, is the latest example of an increasing chorus of repudiation of the Trump administration-approved plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank that advanced as part of a coalition deal forged between Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist Benny Gantz. The annexation could happen as soon as July.

Agence France-Presse reported:

The Netanyahu-Gantz agreement includes a framework for implementing annexations outlined in President Trump's controversial plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, unveiled at the White House in January.

Fulfulling that proposal would be disastrous, said The Elders, instead calling for "meaningful dialogue" to kickstart a new peace initiative.

"The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only ever be solved by finding a solution that guarantees peace, security, rights, and dignity to both peoples," said Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Unilaterally seizing territory and ignoring international law achieves precisely the opposite. Such a move betrays both the interests of Israeli citizens and the ideals of the State's founders," said Robinson.

As the Associated Press reported last week:

The Palestinians claim the entire West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the heartland of an independent state. Annexing chunks of this territory would likely deal a death blow to faded Palestinian hopes of a two-state solution. Annexation also would anger the international community, which overwhelmingly supports Palestinian statehood.

Fear of harsh international censure might help explain why Netanyahu hasn’t tried to annex occupied territory in his years in power—even while boosting Jewish settlement expansion there.

Those calculations gradually changed after Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in 2016. Surrounded by a team of pro-settlement advisers, Trump delivered diplomatic gifts that Netanyahu never could have imagined under previous administrations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with Netanyahu this week, with a focus of the trip expected to be the annexation plan, reported the AP. From the wire service:

Alone among most governments, the Trump administration has said it will support the annexation of West Bank territory claimed by the Palestinians for an eventual state as long as Israel agrees to enter peace talks with the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority has firmly rejected the so-called "vision for peace," as has the Arab League.

"If the joint mapping of Palestinian lands to be seized by the Israeli government continues, the standing of the United States in the international community will be further damaged. The West Bank belongs to Palestine, and any changes should be mutually agreed upon," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an Elder Emeritus.

According to Ban Ki-moon, deputy chair of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the U.N., the plan should spur global outrage.

"The principles of international law are the bedrock of our global order," he said. "They provide a framework for defending rights and exercising power that is crucial to all global challenges. Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would not only be an act of aggressive folly, it would have a destructive influence on global rights and norms. I call on the whole world to speak out against this damaging agenda."

Other groups added their voices to the chorus of outrage. 

The annexation plan, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches said last week, "raises serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades' long conflict, one that continues to cost many innocent lives as part of a vicious cycle of human tragedy and injustice."

"Annexation is not in line with international law," EU foreign policy spokesperson Peter Stano told press Monday. "If it goes ahead, the EU will act accordingly."

The International Criminal Court, meanwhile, last week suggested it is the target of "smear campaign" as a result of its ongoing probe into possible war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.

The White House's plan included a provision that Palestinians must take "no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States, and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court" and other tribunals.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·

Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·

Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo