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In 24 hours, Palestine faces an existential threat


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In 24 hours, Palestine faces an existential threat



On June 24, the UN Secretary General António Guterres told a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at a “watershed moment”.

  • The Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank have alarmed the Palestinians, many Israelis and the international community.

Such annexation would be “a most serious violation of international law”.


What needs to be done now?

He called upon the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans and asked the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN) to resume its mandated mediatory role.


What’s the issue?

The UN Secretary General’s alarm has been sounded in the context of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reported plan to annex on July 1 around 30% of the Occupied West Bank.

This will include annexation of all the existing (post-1967) settlements in addition to areas surrounding them and access roads. 


What is Annexation in the international law? Why Israel’s move is illegal?

Under international law, annexation is forcible acquisition of territory by one state at the expense of another state.

Such an act even if sanctified by Israeli law is illegal under international law and would violate the universally acknowledged principle of the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”.

  • This is the accepted position of all international legal bodies including the International Court of Justice.
  • Even, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) has described the annexation of occupied territory as a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions.
  • It is also contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the UN Security Council and the General Assembly that acquisition of territory war or by force is inadmissible.


Where is West Bank?

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.


What are the disputed settlements here?  Who lives there?

  1. The West Bank was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  2. Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since.
  3. It has built some 130 formal settlements in the West Bank, and a similar number of smaller, informal settlements have mushroomed over the last 20-25 years.
  4. Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers — many of them religious Zionists who claim a Biblical birthright over this land — now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.



Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the proposed West Asia Peace plan?
  2. What is Six Day war?
  3. About the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  4. Middle East quartet.

Locate the following on map:

  1. Goals Heights.
  2. West Bank.
  3. Jerusalem.
  4. Dead Sea.

Sources: the Hindu.