Annexation formalizes ongoing theft of Palestinian land

Amnesty International Canada is deeply concerned with and strongly opposes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to “annex” a large portion of the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In the upcoming weeks, Israel is expected to “annex” at least 30% of the West Bank.

In May 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his plan to “annex” parts of the Jordan Valley, namely the City of Jericho. It is expected that at least 60,000 Palestinians will be forced to leave their homes. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also announced that the displaced Palestinians would not be granted Israeli citizenship.

Israel’s “annexation” plans follow the January 2020 announcement by President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”, which proposed areas of the occupied West Bank to be annexed by Israel.

Annexation violates the UN Charter, jus cogens norms of international law, and international humanitarian legal obligations.

Amnesty International Canada strongly believes that the “annexation” would serve only to worsen human rights violations and enshrine the entrenched impunity that has fuelled decades of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave violations. The UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 warned: “International law is very clear: annexation and territorial conquest are forbidden by the Charter of the United Nations.”

Annexation formalizes land theft that has been going on for decades. Since 1967, Israel has continuously violated international law and “annexed” parts of the West Bank.

Annexation first began in 1967 when Israel unilaterally “annexed” East Jerusalem and included this Palestinian part of the city, as well as the surrounding area of 64 square kilometres, within the boundaries of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.

Annexation will have devastating human rights implications

Further “annexation” of Palestinian territory would certainly stand to deepen and exacerbate decades of severe and entrenched human rights violations against Palestinians living in the West Bank. Any Israeli move to “annex” territory in the West Bank is null and void under international law, but it will not be treated as such by Israeli courts. Thus, their application of Israeli law to the territory will have the effect of denying rights under international law to Palestinians in the territory.

Moves towards formalization (under domestic Israeli law) and further land grabs of Palestinian territory would result in the continuation of Israeli settlement expansion. It would also further entrench the policies of institutionalized discrimination that Palestinians face in the OPT as well as the continuation of mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

Annexation will have a devastating impact on Palestinians’ nationality status, their right to property and restrict their right to move freely.

The canadian government should explicitly oppose the annexation plan

In an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau, Amnesty International Canada urges Canadian government to explicitly oppose the West Bank “annexation” plan.

Amnesty International Canada urged the Canadian government to pursue all possible steps to address and bring an end to the human rights violations caused by decades of Israeli occupation and unlawful settlements in the West Bank. International humanitarian law obliges Canada to do so.