OPN Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian5-1589108016604
Palestinian demonstrators duck for cover as Israeli soldiers come charging down in the village of Kfar Qaddum in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Image Credit: AFP

Israel has always been quick to exploit Arab political divisions. For the past six decades, the Israelis managed to seize on such disagreements to move ahead with their designs to usurp more Palestinian land.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made the annexation of occupied West Bank his main election promise, has recently hinted that some Arab states had already given Israel their tacit approval for the plan.

Netanyahu, who is now forming the new right-wing government, is trying to propagate such lies to make his criminal plan a de facto reality by showing the Palestinians that they no longer have support from the Arab world, especially among the key Arab states whose support has kept the Palestinian struggle for independence alive.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, strongly rejected Netanyahu’s statements on the implicit Arab acceptance of his illegal plan, saying these lies “contradict the reality and distort the real Arab position”, which supports Palestinian rights.

Shaikh Abdullah reiterated the strong condemnation and rejection by Arab states of Israeli plans to annex the West Bank. “This unilateral move is illegal and undermines the chances for peace and the efforts made by the international community to reach a lasting political settlement,” based on United Nations resolutions, the minister said.

Netanyahu thinks the coronavirus crisis could provide him with the necessary cover to move ahead with this sinister plan — to annex the occupied lands. He realises how huge and devastating the move will be for whatever glimmer of hope is left for regional peace.

The Israeli prime minister mistakenly thinks that such a tremendous blow to the hope for peace, which could also lead to a new military confrontation in the region, can have better chances if taken while the world is busy fighting the coronavirus pandemic. He is wrong.

Netanyahu also assumes that if he gets America’s blessing for his criminal activities in the Occupied Territories, which Washington has yet to explicitly announce, it will not matter even if the rest of the world opposes such a move.

He is wrong again.

The European Union, for example, has already expressed its strong opposition to Netanyahu’s plans. France even warned of a complete review of its relations if the Israeli government goes ahead with the plan.

Most importantly, Netanyahu is wrong in his attempt to promote his usual lies about a tacit Arab approval for his plans. Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is illegal and must end. The Palestinian Question is alive and will remain the Arabs’ central issue. Netanyahu knows that very well.