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West Bank’

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    30th May, 2020

As Israel was set to launch its new unity government Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to push on with controversial plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

Context

As Israel was set to launch its new unity government Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to push on with controversial plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

About

  • The West Bank is a chunk of land east of Israel. It’s home to nearly three million Palestinians, and would make up the heart of any Palestinian state.
  • It is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. 
  • The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

Background

  • Israel took control of West Bank in 1967 and has allowed Jewish settlers to move in, but Palestinians (and most of the international community) consider it illegally occupied Palestinian land.
  • In 1967, Israel fought a war with Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
  • In six days, Israel routed the Arab powers, taking the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.
  • Israel has controlled the West Bank since the Six-Day War (as it’s called).
  • The West Bank was the heartland of the ancient Jewish state. It’s home to many Jewish holy sites, like the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, that Jews were previously cut off from.
  • In practice, Israeli control of the West Bank means military administration of a territory full of Palestinians who aren’t exactly excited about living under Israeli authority.

The bone of contention

  • The territory is still a point of contention due to a large number of Palestinians who live there and hope to see the land become a part of their future state.
  • The West Bank is currently home to about 2.8 million Palestinian Arabs and 400,000 Jewish residents in 127 communities commonly referred to as settlements. When Israel took control of the land in 1967 it allowed Jewish people to move in, but Palestinians consider the West Bank illegally occupied Palestinian land.
  • The United Nations considers all settlement activity by Israel in the West Bank to be illegal, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the settlements in the region.

West Bank annexations?

  • Under the three-year coalition deal, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for the coming 18 months -- a major victory for a leader due to stand trial in a week on corruption charges, which he denies. 
  • Gantz will be alternate prime minister, a new position in Israeli governance, for the first half of the deal, before he and Netanyahu swap roles.
  • The new government's policy guidelines state as top priorities combatting the coronavirus and healing an economy battered by the pandemic. 
  • The new government may be confronted with yet another international crisis in matter of weeks, centred on the West Bank. 
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