Israel persistently dodges international law and accountability

Palestine Update 360

A ‘wild idea’ that might not appeal to Americans
Breaking Defense, a digital magazine that covers military issues, reports that Israel may ask for its U.S. aid early, possibly in a lump sum that could be as high as $7.6 billion.

This would work out to almost $21 million per day from American taxpayers, even though the U.S. is approaching a $4 trillion deficit (the largest in the world), and Israel typically has a lower unemployment rate than the United States. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, “Israel’s Ministry of Defense and high command have hammered out an emergency plan for an appeal to Washington.” A Tel Aviv dateline, reports: “…COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Israel to ask Washington to make major changes to the [aid] agreement, including a request to receive the annual allocation $3.8 billion earlier than planned.” U.S. aid to Israel is normally disbursed in October, in a lump sum that is deposited to an interest-bearing Israeli account in the New York Federal Reserve Bank. (Since the U.S. has been operating at a deficit, this means that the U.S. government borrows the money and pays interest on it long after it has gone out.)

In addition to receiving the aid earlier than usual, there is speculation that Israel may request that the aid expected for 2024 also be disbursed this year. That would work out to nearly $21 million per day, or $14,460 per minute to Israel from American taxpayers suffering from a devastating hit to the U.S. economy.
Full story in International Middle East Media centre

State Dept. will recognize application of Israeli Law in West Bank
Israeli monitor: Settlements grew under Trump presidency

The U.S. on Monday said it was ready to recognize Israel’s annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but asked Israel’s newly formed unity government to also negotiate with the Palestinians. A spokesperson said: “As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel.” The measure would be “in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President [Donald] Trump’s Vision.” The spokesperson further said: “The annexation would be in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions and generous economic support.

This is an unprecedented and highly beneficial opportunity for the Palestinians. Trump’s plan, which was rejected by the Palestinians sight unseen, would see the establishment of a contiguous but demilitarized Palestinian state on most of the West Bank with parts of eastern Jerusalem that are outside the Israeli security fence as its capital. Jerusalem would remain undivided and under Israeli control.

Israeli military opposes its politicians’ annex of the Jordan Valley
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) perform a military drill in Ramallah, West Bank on February 06, 2019 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]Israeli generals have revealed that announcing the annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements will lead to the collapse of the Palestinian security services, because they will lose control of the public and will be seen as colluding with the occupation. The annexation plan will also result in the collapse of the PA itself because it will prove to the Palestinians its failure in the political process, although this may mean the Palestinian public will turn to Hamas, which is trying to take advantage of any security chaos in the West Bank.

Increasing Israeli voices are emerging from a number of former senior generals and senior leaders of the military and security systems, who believe that any decision to annex the West Bank constitutes a threat to the fate of Israelis, and Israel may not be able to face the consequences of such a move. Many Israeli generals believe that the results of any annexation process, whether total or partial, will provoke reactions that Israel will not be able to confront or deal with, especially since the damage caused by annexation will have a domino effect. It will pose a threat to the security of the state, its economy and its relationship with its Arab neighbours. Israeli control over the Palestinians will cost the Israeli budget approximately $14.8 billion.
Read Middle East Monitor for full narrative

Erekat briefs European officials on Israeli Annexation plans
Top Palestinian negotiator and executive member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Saeb Erekat, briefed a number of Palestinian officials on the latest announcement by Israel regarding the planned annexation of the occupied West Bank. Erekat was reportedly introduced to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Anne Lindy and Head of the Belgium’s Foreign Ministry’s chamber, Bernard Cobentine, the top Palestinian official briefed both European officials on what he described as the Israeli occupation authorities’ attempts to annex the Palestinian West Bank to Israel.

Dr. Erekat was quoted as saying that both phone conversations focused on the need to implement all relevant items of international law, pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, mainly realizing a two-state solution that is based on 1967 borders, with land in return for peace. He reportedly addressed, during the conversations, current efforts by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), with regards to fighting the Coronavirus (Covid-19) with consideration for millions of Palestinian refugees, in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Dr. Erekat expressed his deep appreciation for the Kingdom of Sweden’s recognition of the state of Palestine, saying “Such recognition is a great model for other countries, across the globe.”

Palestinians in Europe call for end of internal division

About 1,000 Palestinians in Europe have called on Palestinian factions to end the internal division in light of the outbreak of the coronavirus. The call, which came through a petition signed by Palestinians from different walks, said: “13 years of the black internal Palestinian division has been expanding the Palestinian tragedy and depleting its presence and future.”

The division, according to the signatories, has put the Palestinians under “complicated suffering” which consisted of the Israeli occupation and the clashes of the brothers. Palestinians have suffered socially, economically, and politically as a result, the petition added, and the divisions have affected humanitarian efforts.

 “During the 13-year-old division, the Palestinians witnessed a strict siege on Gaza, increasing settlement in West Bank, increasing attempts to distort the definition of the Palestinian refugee ahead of cancelling his right to return and closing UNRWA and US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli occupation’s capital,” the signatories said.

They called for all parties to stick to Palestinian unity, condemning disunity, adopting dialogue to sort out differences, resuming talks to regain unity, reactivating the PLO’s institutions, and stressing the importance of action by Palestinians in the diaspora.