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The partial Annexation of settlement
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
February 1, 2017

Trump's position towards annexing Maale Adumim is a test for the new US administration regarding the political settlement

Tel Aviv has closed the door to talk about the security and to what are political settlements since a long time. It pushed the public to think that all the settlements which built in the West Bank as an «existential», i.e. to stay and prosper in a political solution to the conflict or without it.

When the Israeli governments stressed the need to increase the proportion of land exchange in the context of the negotiations, the aim was not only to annex the existing settlements and their vital range, but also to accommodate the emerging settlement in accordance with the plans to reach a million settlers, as stated by Netanyahu and others.

With closing the door of the settlement from the Israeli side, Netanyahu and his government discuss the ways to annex the settlement even partially, on the rhythm of changing of the administration of Obama, which allowed the passage of the international resolution regarding the settlement, and the coming of Trump as the new President. Therefore, the talk is about the Israeli government's intention to annex the settlement of Maaleh Adumim.

When Israel gave the Palestinian Authority areas in the West Bank that was just an equation of «more population less land». Thus practically the Palestinian population was moved (except Jerusalem) to the Palestinian administrative authority. The delivery pulses didn’t stop because of the «negotiating stroke» that hit the settlement process in the nineties of the last century, but because Tel Aviv was convinced that it delivered what it wanted to the PA, and the remaining land will be under the Israeli security and expansionist policies. This has been proven in all the attempts to revive the settlement and the negotiations «Marathon» in their many rounds.

Since Benjamin Netanyahu has formed his second government in (2009) he stated clearly that the settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem is an Israeli special affair, in a clear indication to what came in the speech of the US President, Barack Obama, in Cairo about the need to freeze the settlement, and it was the first time to indicate to the settlement freeze as a prelude to begin the negotiations after 16 years of the start of the settlement process without mentioning the settlement and the requirement to stop it.

In all settlement stages, the Israeli government had fully conviction that the annexation of settlements was a matter of time, and there will not be before the Palestinian negotiator any way for rejection as long as it agreed on the principle of land swap. But the obstacle that prevented that (in the view of Tel Aviv) is the matter of East Jerusalem, which Netanyahu's government stresses on keeping it united and eternal capital of Israel.

The Israeli settlement map is designed to prevent the Palestinian entity from any contact with non- Israeli side and through it only. And it’s the current situation now, and it will continue if Israel succeeds in annexing the settlement; and ensured its control over wide areas of the West Bank under the name of «security needs». It was clear from the maps which provided by the Israeli negotiator during the negotiations that took place after the Annapolis conference and ended in failure in 2008.

When, Netanyahu has become the head of the government, it was clear that he canceled the phase that preceded him, and his negotiators refused to provide any documented Israeli perception for the future of the Palestinian occupied territories, and they refused to discuss any of the essential issues before resolving the issue of security considerations within the Israeli conditions.

But, at the same time, stopping the settlement process prevents reaching to the annexation of the settlement through a bilateral solution with the US sponsorship, which is one of the fundamental aspirations of Israeli. So, the unilateral steps were aspects of the Israeli political process towards the Palestinian side. All what has happened because of Judaization and settlement expansion campaigns is in accordance with the annexation, which is adhered by the successive Israeli governments.

So, when Washington passed the Security Council resolution which rejected the settlement, and Trump's position about the need to «correct» it, stimulated Netanyahu to think seriously about the annexation of the settlement, even if «partially» starting with the biggest settlement «Maaleh Adumim» that would pass the annexation of the siege of Jerusalem and separated from the West, which will separate Jerusalem into two halves, north and south; which is like the «Greater Jerusalem» project, which was announced previously.

The Law, which the government announced its intention to take concerning the annexation of the mentioned settlement, then it postponed it until Netanyahu's meeting with Trump, is a practical exam to the US official policy regarding the political settlements in general and the settlement in particular.

It is clear that Netanyahu aspires the blessing of the new US administration to any steps of this kind; especially after Trump's announcement of the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Many observers said that if Trump and his administration, take decisions that agree with Netanyahu about the annexation of the settlement that will close the door in the face of the Palestinian negotiator. Perhaps this is not absent from the experts in politics and security in the US who understand that this object opens on the uncalculated developments in the Palestinian issue.

It would also put the new US administration before additional questions by influential parties in the international community including the European Union.

However, regardless of what will be in the Trump's and Netanyahu's meeting next month, the issue of the settlements is the most prominent title to the challenges which face the future of the Palestinian occupied territories, unfortunately it did not become a title of an open battle with the occupation on the ground and in policy; although the UN resolutions allow to that, especially after Palestine's membership in the international Criminal Court and after the Security Council resolution that rejects the settlement.

Netanyahu and his cabinet try to invest semi opportunities to serve the Israeli expansion and security of policies, at a time when the Palestinian negotiator and its political referentiality are wasting major opportunities that have been made available to the emancipation from the American and Israeli conditions and pressures, some of these opportunities are national, and some of which are the achievements at the international level.

The Palestinian Central Council's resolutions have formed in the last session a powerful weapon with the Palestinian side that, helps it to get out of the state of hesitation and waiting and returns it back to have the initiative, in case of these resolutions starting from ending the division, halting the security coordination with the occupation reviving the popular resistance and protecting it, and correcting the settlement path and establishing it on the grounds in accordance with the international legitimacy resolutions.

At the UN level, was the upgrading status of the Palestine in the United Nations and the recognition of it as a state that is under the occupation on the fourth of June 1967 borders and its capital the East Jerusalem; and it joined to a significant number of the international institutions which could allow to trial the occupation for its crimes.

The opportunities exist but there should be a political will to achieve their entitlements.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawda Abu Zarqa & Ibrahim Motlaq

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