A member of the Israeli security forces fires towards Palestinian demonstrators during a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, near the village of Atuf in the Jordan Valley on June 5, 2020 Image Credit: AFP

Israel’s plans to annex significant parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley has yet to materialise.

The July 1 deadline, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set for the new onslaught on the occupied territories, has passed. But preparations for the plans seem to be underway, according to Israeli media.

One reason for the delay in implementing Netanyahu’s plan to usurp 30 per cent of the West Bank could be the growing international opposition to the illegal move.

The Palestinians and the Arab League need a sound strategy to counter the Israeli offensive. The Palestinian leadership should not be left alone to repel the new aggression

- Gulf News

Recent reports hinted at the lack of consensus within the United States administration on whether to support the controversial plan or not. The US is in election mode. The last thing the Trump administration needs at this time is another controversy.

The European Union meanwhile is clear in its opposition to the plan. More than 1,000 members of the European Parliament, from 25 countries, have signed a letter strongly opposing the Israeli plan.

The letter called for “commensurate consequences” if Israel goes ahead with its plans. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed passionately to Netanyahu “as a friend” to stop the project.

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Another reason is the potential consequences of such an unprecedented attack on the Palestinian right to establish an independent state on all the occupied land with Jerusalem as its capital.

The borders of the long-sought state are internationally recognised by several United Nations resolutions, particularly Resolution number 242. The international community is bound by those resolutions to protect the integrity of the occupied territories.

Meanwhile, the Israeli move would understandably absolve the Palestinian leadership of any agreement signed with Israel. Netanyahu’s plan would not only bury the clinically dead Middle East Peace Process but will certainly set the clock back. The potential of the eruption of violence cannot be ruled out too.

Latest reports from Israel indicate the plan is “still on the table,” which is unfortunate. The annexation of the West Bank represents the biggest challenge to the Palestinian aspirations of independence since the 1967 war, which led to the occupation of the West Bank. But it is not too late to stop Netanyahu’s designs.

The Palestinians and the Arab League need a sound strategy to counter the Israeli offensive. The Palestinian leadership should not be left alone to repel the new Israeli aggression.

Therefore, the Arab world must build on the strong opposition from Europe and the UN against the Israeli plan. The time to rally the international community and world public opinion is now.

This is an opportunity for the Arabs to quash Netanyahu’s evil plans before it becomes another ‘de facto status quo’.