Fatah and Hamas slam 'US-enabled' Israeli resolution on West Bank annexation

Both rival Palestinian political groups have slammed a non-binding resolution passed by the ruling Israeli Likud party, which calls for the annexation of West Bank territory that the Palestinians see as their future state.

On Sunday, the Likud Central Committee unanimously approved a non-binding resolution to annex Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. The document also recognized the decades-old Israeli stance on Jerusalem, which calls the city the “eternal capital” of the Jewish state. While it has no legal effect, the symbolic proclamation directly endorses the expansionist policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which are in the spotlight following the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December.

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A boy sits atop the roof of a vehicle at the entrance to the Jewish settler outpost of Amona in the West Bank, October 20, 2016 © Ronen Zvulun

The advisory resolution, which was widely condemned in Israeli political circles, was also slammed by Hamas and Fatah – the two main Palestinian political parties. Illegal Jewish settlements and the status of Jerusalem are regarded as the main obstacles to a two-state peace process.

Likud’s resolution is “part of Israel’s plan to erase the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday. He added that the document had the “full support of the US administration, who have refused to condemn Israeli colonial settlements as well as the systematic attacks and crimes of the Israeli occupation against the people of Palestine.”

Abbas accused the Israeli ruling party of “consolidation of an apartheid regime,” adding that Israel is not interested in a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The president also noted that he plans to make “important” decisions in 2018, which will hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians. Abbas, however, failed to elaborate on what steps he has in mind.

“Israeli efforts to kill the chances of peace will be met with more determination and steadfastness. No people in the world has accepted to live as slaves and the Palestinian people is not going to be the first one to do so,” Abbas said, according to WAFA news. “We shall make important decisions during 2018, including regarding legal venues, in order to hold Israel accountable for its grave and systematic violations of international law, and to revisit agreements signed with Israel.”

Rival Palestinian party Hamas, which repeatedly issued calls for a new ‘intifada’ against Israel in the wake of Donald Trump’s announcement on December 6, also slammed Likud’s resolution.

“The extremist Likud Party’s attempt to legislate [for] a decision to annex the West Bank to ‘Israel’ confirms that Trump’s decision on Jerusalem enabled the occupation to implement its racist policy, which aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” Hamas said in a statement, warning of “the continuation of the Palestinian intifada and the escalation of resistance against the Israeli Occupation.”

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