ISRAEL has embarked on a dangerous mission which if not checkmated by the international community could forever alter the map of the Middle East and plunge the region into a more sinister and deadly conflict.
The Jewish state under the power-sharing deal that led to the formation of Israel’s new unity government consisting of parties led by Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, have agreed to push ahead with plans to build thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers in occupied east Jerusalem and to appropriate Jordan valley in the occupied West Bank.
Decades ago, Israel annexed Golan Heights seized from Syria during 1967 war. It has been further emboldened to extend its sovereignty over the other occupied territories thus rendering a major blow to the two-state solution favoured by the UN and the rest of the world.
The power-sharing deal between Netanyahu and Gantz will come into effective from July 1 with the former serving as the prime minister for the first 18 months before his rival takes over for the remaining period.
It is good to note that our government has rightly expressed its concern over the latest moves by Israel to take control of parts of occupied West Bank. But Islamabad needs to raise its voice more forcefully at the international forums.
The recent visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Tel Aviv has given credence to reports that Washington has given its blessing to the Israeli plans. The Palestinians see the West Bank as an integral part of their future state and thus have rightly rejected President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century.’
Clearly worked up with Israel’s motives, King Abdullah of Jordan has spoken of enormous troubles with the Hashemite kingdom with whom the Jewish state has peace accord and shares security and intelligence reports.
There are reports in the Israeli media that the country’s rightwing elements believe that annexing the Jordan valley is a tactical operation aimed at hitting two birds with one stone. The first is to annex the West Bank and cancel the peace agreement with Amman; the second is topple the Hashemite royal family and to tell the world that Jordan is Palestine.
This seems far-fetched plans which, hopefully, will never see the light of day.
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2020