The Netanyahu-Gantz Government and the future of the West Bank
The Netanyahu-Gantz Government and the future of the West Bank
A new government for Israel
After 508 days of political stalemate, on May 17, 2020, the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, voted in a new government of national unity, with 73 votes in favor and 46 against. It is Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s fifth premiership. This time, however, he will have to share the office of prime minister with former rival Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party, who will take the leadership of the government on November 17, 2021. In fact, he also took the oath of office on May 17 as “alternate prime minister” and Minister of Defense.
The new executive is supported by the so-called “right-wing bloc,” a coalition of eight parties, several of which are small. It is the largest government in the history of the country, with as many as 34 ministers and 16 deputy ministers. In this regard, during the inaugural debate, a leading member of the opposition, Yair Lapid (who was initially an ally of Gantz), noted: “There are more ministers and deputy ministers in the government than people hospitalized for the coronavirus.” At that time there were a total of 50 members of the new executive, while those in hospital with Covid-19 were 48.
Defined as a “national emergency government,” it was created, according to Gantz, to deal with the coronavirus and to remedy the serious economic crisis and unemployment caused by the pandemic. In reality, Netanyahu’s project went far beyond that perspective: its aim was to annex, with the support of Trump, part of the occupied territories of the West Bank (where there are important Israeli settlements) and the Jordan Valley, thus redefining the borders of the Israeli State.
The agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz for the formation of a coalition government was reached on April 20, 2020, although the Blue and White Party, in the various general elections – April and September 2019 and March 2, 2020 – campaigned with the slogan “Anyone but Netanyahu.” In fact, the prime minister had been called to account by the judicial authorities. The agreement provided that each leader (starting with Netanyahu) would assume the office of prime minister for 18 months, and then, after 36 months of government, they would vote again, for the fourth time in a short period.
Trump’s ‘Plan of the Century’
The most important point of Netanyahu’s political program regards foreign policy and is the plan to annex to Israel part of the territories of the West Bank – including the Jordan Valley – occupied in 1967, after the Six-Day War.
On the basis of the Oslo Accords – signed between Rabin and Arafat in 1993, with the benevolent mediation of U.S. President Clinton – the militarily occupied territories have been divided into three zones: Zone C, which includes 60% of the territories, under the control of the Israeli security forces; Zone B was under mixed control; Zone A, which included 20% of the territory, was entrusted exclusively to the Palestinian police. To administer zones A and B, including the Gaza Strip, the agreement provided for the establishment of a self-governing body, the Palestinian National Authority, which has governed since then, initially under the leadership of Arafat, today under that of Abu Mazen. The areas that the new head of the Israeli government intends to annex (West Bank and Jordan Valley) fall within zone C, where Israeli settlements have expanded in the past years, starting from 1968.
After years of endless discussions and inconclusive attempts to resolve the Palestinian question (two states for two peoples, as the major international organizations have always maintained, as per UN Resolution 181 of 1947), in January 2020 Donald Trump’s American Peace Plan was presented. This “deal of the century” – as Trump himself defined it – would resolve the Palestinian question once and for all. It was based on two fundamental elements: one political and territorial, the other economic. First of all, the UN solution of the two independent and sovereign states living side by side was accepted. It established that Jerusalem was the “sovereign and undivided” capital of the Israeli state, and that the Palestinians could freely choose their capital in the areas of East Jerusalem. The project states: “It could be called Al Quds (as the Palestinians call Jerusalem) or by another name that will be chosen by them.” It was also established that the new Israeli settlements in the West Bank and other Palestinian territories would be frozen for the entire period of the negotiations (four years) and that the Israeli government would accept the plan in its entirety. Furthermore, the plan provided for the annexation of vast portions of the West Bank and the sovereignty of Israel over the Jordan Valley, which would thus become the new state border. The other important element of the plan was to allocate USD 50 Billion to investments for the Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians.
The peace plan asked the Palestinians, as a condition for the creation of a new state (made up of “more or less extensive fragments” of territories connected to each other by tunnels or other means), to agree to the demilitarization of Gaza, the disarmament of Hamas, to endorse the fight against terrorism and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as its undivided capital.
According to some commentators, the “plan of the century” has all the signs of being a propaganda operation created to benefit Netanyahu in the difficult electoral campaign, to the detriment of the Palestinians, who would inherit from this project a sort of fragmented state, in practice subject to Israeli protection from both a geographical and strategic point of view, as well as economically.
Abu Mazen strongly protested this plan, urging young people to take to the streets. He denounced the lack of neutrality and true impartiality from the United States. Aware that he was touching the sensibilities of many Muslims in this way, he said that “Jerusalem was not for sale.” The Arab world was split in its assessment of the plan: while friends of the U.S.A. found it reasonable, others, primarily Iran and Jordan, condemned it.
The American project, according to Abu Mazen, has turned an independent state into a land with more holes than Swiss cheese: a tailor-made map to isolate the 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank from the 600,000 Israelis in Jerusalem and in the settlements. This, he said, is the end of any dream of national independence. Some politicians and intellectuals have relaunched the idea of a “single state” (an old proposal dear to Mustafà Barghouti), with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians, abandoning the Oslo agreement(two states for two peoples). But for the Israelis this proposal is unacceptable, because, for many of them, it calls into question the “Jewish character of the state.” Not to be underestimated is the fact that from the Mediterranean to the Jordan the Arab citizens (including Israeli Arabs) are 45% of the population and that in the very near future they could become the majority.
The agreement, compared to previous ones, further reduces the size of the notional state offered to the Palestinians. In fact, with Israel preparing to formally annex the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, its surface area would be approximately 10% of historical Palestine. It is obvious that such a state has no chance of existing, all the more so in the form established by Trump-Netanyahu. When the son-in-law of the U.S. President, Jared Kushner (co-author of the project), unveiled the proposal for a new Palestinian state that would include several dozen small enclaves connected by tunnels, bridges or elevated structures, many observers could not help but think of South Africa’s bantustans.
In any case, there are only two possible solutions today, unless we want to perpetuate the yoke of military occupation for another 50 years: either a two-state solution, or unification into a single nation-state. In the latter option, Israel would annex all the occupied territories, “but if […] it really does, five million Palestinian Arabs will be able to vote in Israeli elections: Israel will stop being a ‘Jewish state,’ even if it remains democratic. Or it will be decided not to let them vote, and in that case it will become a state of apartheid,” that is a country made up of two peoples: one with full rights and the other without rights. The USA, as the guarantor power of democracy at a global level, cannot allow this. That is why Trump has proposed again, albeit clumsily, the two-state solution.
The annexation of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley
The main effect of the long and exhausting electoral campaign was to have placed at the center of the political debate an issue that until a few months before was considered impractical, namely, the annexation of the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. In this way Netanyahu would win the votes of the settlers, who generally support the extreme right parties. Thus Bibi forced his political antagonist, Gantz, to follow him along the same path, albeit Gantz used more moderate and diplomatic language.
Already during the elections of April 2019, Netanyahu made explicit reference to the theme of the annexations during a television interview. At the time he said: “We will extend Israeli sovereignty. But I will not distinguish between settlement blocks and isolated settlements.” Thus he specified that the annexations would concern not only the centers densely inhabited by Jews, but the whole territory of a region where there were Israeli settlements (even sporadic ones), that is, a good part of the West Bank. This angered both the Arab world, or rather some sectors of it, and the representatives of Western diplomacy, which on this issue maintained as a firm point the principle that the Palestinian state should have the borders that were established before the sSx-Day War.
A first exception to this principle was introduced by Trump, when in December 2017 he officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to the new capital five months later. This provoked the strongest protests from the Palestinians and the international community. Another important exception was introduced two weeks before the April 2019 elections, when the U.S. president, in order to favor his friend Netanyahu in his electoral ambitions, recognized Israel’s exclusive sovereignty over the Golan Heights, snatched from Syria in the Six-Day War. Even though the party led by Bibi had the majority of votes, he was unable to form a new government due to the lack of support from his former nationalist ally, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Netanyahu continued to insist on his solution to the issue of the settlements in the new round of elections in September 2019. Urged on by the Blue and White Party of Gantz and Lapid, he had to raise his sights and promise the right a resounding outcome. “Today,” he said, “I announce my intention, after the creation of a new government, to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern shore of the Dead Sea.” This would become Israel’s new and definitive border.
Netanyahu also referred to an imminent American peace plan to give a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a plan that Trump liked to call “the deal of the century.” Such a solution, said the prime minister, is just around the corner. For Israel it is “an historic and unique opportunity to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jewish settlements in Judea-Samaria.” This was, in fact, envisaged in the American plan.
However, it should be remembered that the Jordan Valley has always been declared by the Palestinian Authority to be the natural border of the future state. In fact, it represents 30% of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and is an important area for the water supply of the region. Without it there could be no Palestinian state, the final objective of the previous road maps, which was due to reach – with appropriate corrective measures – to the West Bank. But it is precisely in that region that the population of the Jewish settlers, distributed in hundreds of illegal settlements and outposts, has now reached the number of 500,000. The question of how this situation is to be resolved, therefore, arises.
The first areas to be annexed to Israel, some political observers comment, would be the large settlement blocks with tens of thousands of inhabitants, namely, Maalè Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel. The first two settlements are as big as cities, practically an offshoot of Jerusalem. At least these three settlements would be annexed in a future negotiation, but in exchange for another territory for the Palestinians. In any case, the extension of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, promised by Bibi and to be realized as soon as possible, represents a very risky political initiative, capable of igniting the Middle East, or rather, the Muslim countries still faithful to the Palestinian cause, at a moment already turbulent in itself.
The occupation of the West Bank by Israel
According to some commentators, the underlying problem concerns the legal status of the West Bank under international law. In fact, it is one thing to occupy an area after a conflict, it is another thing to annex it to another state. According to UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, the occupying power has no right to change the legal status of the territories it occupies militarily. It should also be recalled that this resolution was issued on the basis of Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes, which, as such, has the nature of a recommendation and is not binding in itself. This principle was then reiterated in Resolution 338, voted by the Security Council after the Yom Kippur War (October 6-25, 1973), and has been the main international reference for the peace process since the 1980s. The pro-Israeli theorists discuss a phrase in the resolution, which poses problems that are not easy to solve: it says that the withdrawal must take place based “on secure and recognized borders,” which, unfortunately, do not exist until today.
The United Nations and most analysts believe that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a violation of international law. The 1949 Geneva Convention – also signed by the State of Israel – prohibits an occupying state from transferring civilians to the occupied territories. According to the International Court of Justice, the West Bank is to be considered an occupied territory because it was not part of Israel before the Israeli army conquered it in 1967. Territorial acquisitions are also prohibited under international law.
As historian Dov Waxman reports, the Israeli government argues that the Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank, “because it refers only to the possibility of one state occupying the territory of another state. Israel considers the West Bank to be a ‘disputed territory,’ not an occupied territory.” Furthermore, the Israeli government, even if the Geneva solution were to be applied, “would only prohibit the forced transfers of civilians, such as deportations by Nazi Germany, and not the voluntary movement of people to the occupied territories.” This position was recently reinforced by the Trump plan, which considers Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank to be legitimate.
The arrival of Israeli settlers in this Palestinian region began in 1968, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War (May 1967), when Rabbi Moshe Levinger moved, together with his religious community, to Hebron. This city is considered sacred by all observant Jews because it is believed that their patriarchs and matriarchs, namely Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, were buried there. Over the years the population has grown to 430,000 inhabitants.
It should be recalled that only 132 settlements in the region are officially recognized and authorized by the government, while 121 others are not official, although they have requested recognition bythe authorities. “The settlers, who represent about 15% of the total population of the West Bank, live in communities separated from the approximately three million Palestinians living in the area.” The latter believe that the settlements were built on land “stolen” from them and that they make abusive and improper use of water, which is a very precious commodity in these parts.
It must also be said that Israel has taken possession of some areas to build a road network linking the settlements with each other and with the major Israeli cities. Access to these roads is usually forbidden to the Palestinians and, as a result, their freedom of movement is prevented in their own territory.
Finally, another point should be stressed: settlers are often thought to be religious fanatics, determined to regain the ancient homeland granted by God to their fathers. This is not true. It seems that only a quarter of settlers live in the West Bank for religious reasons. They are a very visible minority and usually live in small settlements in the hinterland of the region. In fact, most of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank live in these territories for economic reasons. In fact, incentives and investment by the Israeli Government to encourage Jews to move to the West Bank make the cost of living there much lower than elsewhere.
Countries and annexations
Prime Minister Netanyahu will try during this time to implement the agreed program: on the one hand, to deal with the health emergency caused by the coronavirus; on the other hand, to implement his political program of annexation of part of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured Israel of U.S. support in this regard, declaring the Israeli colonies in the West Bank to be “not illegal.”
For his part, Netanyahu is well aware that he has a limited time window to achieve “the historic occasion,” which could close definitively if President Trump is not re-elected in the November 2020 election. This explains why the new prime minister had set July 1 as the date for the annexations.
On May 19, a few days after the formation of the new Netanyahu-Gantz government, the Palestinian President, Abu Mazen, announced the withdrawalfrom all the agreements of the Palestinian Authority with Israel and the USA, stating that Israel, as an occupying power, is responsible for the territories it occupies. “The organization for the liberation of Palestine and the State of Palestine,” he said in a statement, “is now exempted from all agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and from all obligations thereunder, including security obligations.” This is a very serious burden on Israel, which is facing a difficult situation, which could become uncontrollable, especially if the Palestinian National Authority decides to dissolve – as it has threatened – and withdraw from the Oslo agreements. This would turn back the clock of history to before 1993, bringing chaos back to that region.
On the same day (May 19) the Palestinian representative, Saeb Erekat, Chief Negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, informed the Holy See – one reads in a Note from the Secretariat of State – “about recent developments in the Palestinian Territories and the possibility of Israeli sovereignty being applied unilaterally to part of those areas, which would further undermine the peace process.” In this regard, the Holy See, in the person of Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, reiterated that “respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two states, within the borders internationally recognized before 1967.” In the same Note, the Holy See also says that it is concerned about possible unilateral acts that could compromise peace, and hopes that the dialogue between the parties will continue.
From a political point of view, according to analysts, this historical moment would seem propitious for such a maneuver. After the usual formal protests of international bodies, such as the UN, the EU and the Arab League, everything should return to normal, as in fact happened when Israel declared Jerusalem the new capital of the Israeli State. Moreover, even a possible request by some states for a resolution condemning Israel by the UN Security Council would meet the obstacle of a U.S. veto.
In addition to the Palestinians in Gaza and Jordan, who probably – as has been anticipated by Hamas and Abu Mazen himself – would react in a sort of “third intifada,” the main opponents of the annexations in the Arab world would be Jordan, Turkey and, above all, Iran.
The European countries (supporters of the “two-state solution”), which have repeatedly condemned the intentions expressed by Netanyahu, are divided among themselves. There are countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, which are sympathetic to the positions of the Israeli Prime Minister. France has made it known that it is ready to impose economic sanctions against Israel if it proceeds with the annexation. High Representative Josep Borrell announced that the EU and its member states “will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians.”
The real crux is that today in the Arab world the cause of the Palestinian people is no longer felt as it once was, and that it is no longer a reason for popular mobilization. Already ISIS, in its first years of life, had put the Palestinian cause in the background, giving prominence to the issue of the call to jihad for the constitution of the world caliphate.
As has been said, the annexations would undermine the possibility of creating a Palestinian state with its own territorial continuity, transforming it instead into a series of disconnected enclaves without the resources necessary for the growth of its population. This would also constitute a constant threat to the security of Israel and possibly give rise to new terrorist movements, supported by Hezbollah.
In any case, the Netanyahu-Gantz agreement on the West Bank was to be brought to the vote of the executive or parliament on July 1, 2020. So far, however, nothing has been done. It seems that the project has been “postponed” after consultations, which took place in the days before the agreed date, between Netanyahu, the government allies and some U.S. representatives. Trump, in fact, at this moment, is fully engaged on the domestic front in the fight against coronavirus and the serious economic and social crisis that has recently struck the nation – factorswhich jeopardize his reconfirmation in the White House – and does not intend to commit himself to delicate questions of international politics. With regard to the Holy See, on June 30, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, met the ambassadors of the United States and the State of Israel “to express the concern of the Holy See regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardize the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East.”
Netanyahu spoke of a simple “postponement” of the decision; while more explicit, on the issue of the West Bank, was the Foreign Minister of his government (belonging to the Blue and White Party), Gabi Ashkenazi, who said in an interview that Trump’s “plan in its entirety is the right thing to do. It is a long road, which must be pursued through dialogue with our neighbors, without undermining the stability of the region and existing agreements.” These words, which invite all the parties involved to dialogue, suggest that in the new executive there is no unanimity of opinion on the issue of territorial annexation and that, as Gantz recently stated, for the moment the real priority for Israel is the fight against the coronavirus and the economic crisis, which risk damaging the country.
DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 4, no. 08 art. 9, 0620: 10.32009/22072446.0820.9
. Netanyahu was prime minister continuously for 11 years from 2009 until the end of 2018. He had previously been prime minister for three years from 1996 to 1999. See G. Stabile, “Israele. Netanyahu ce l’ha fatta: fiducia al suo quinto governo”, in La Stampa, May 17, 2020.
. S. Nizza, “Due premier e 34 ministri è il governo più affollato di Israele”, in la Repubblica, May 18, 2020.
. “Gli israeliani sono stati truffati”, in Internazionale, April 24, 2020, 15.
. The first hearing of the trial against Netanyahu took place on May 25, a few days after the new government took office. Netanyahu is the first premier in Israeli history to end up in court during his term in office. The trial, in which there are more than 300 witnesses to be heard, will probably last several years. Netanyahu has been charged with three crimes. The first accusation is that he obtained $200,000 in gifts from two billionaires in exchange for favors. The second is dealing with the publisher of the newspaper Ahronot in order to obtain a media coverage favorable to him. The third accusation, more serious, concerns the alleged favors obtained by him from the majority shareholder of Bezeq, the largest Israeli telecommunications company, in exchange for favorable media coverage on one of its information sites. See S. Nizza, “Netanyahu a processo per corruzione. ‘È un tentativo di golpe’”, in la Repubblica, May 24, 2020.
. M. Valsania, “Trump e Netanyahu presentano la loro soluzione per la Palestina”, in Il Sole 24 Ore, January 28, 2020.
. A commission composed of Israeli and American technicians (the Palestinians refused to participate in the negotiations), is to prepare the conditions for a unilateral annexation by Israel. Furthermore, it is working to delineate more precise borders, not an easy task, and one which according to the Americans will have to be further defined in the negotiations. Cf. N. Landau, “Come si cancella la Palestina”, in Internazionale, June 9, 2020, 50 f.
. According to the White House, the plan will at least double Palestinian GDP over the next 10 years, strengthening employment and reducing poverty by 50%. See “Palestina: piano di pace Usa da 50 miliardi. Ma l’Olp e Israele lo bocciano”, ibid., June 22, 2019.
. See R. Barlaam, “Trump pronto a svelare un piano di pace per il Medio Oriente da 50 miliardi”, in Il Sole 24 Ore, January 28, 2020.
. According to the Israeli writer Abraham Yehoshua, because of the settlements that have spread throughout the West Bank, the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be the one proposed by the international community, that is, that of the two states (impossible to achieve today), but that of a single, bi-national state for Jews and Palestinians over the whole of historical Palestine. He proposes the following : “I say that like the Palestinians in Israel, those in the West Bank can and must also obtain residence and citizenship. We can live together in a state, without cancelling our reciprocal identities.” About Trump’s “deal of the century” he has this to say: “I hope that Netanyahu does not take this step (the annexation), which would end up strengthening the apartheid that already exists in the West Bank. There are Palestinian Bantustans, I don’t know what I would call them. In the West Bank in the space of a kilometer you find the inhabitants of a settlement (Israeli) that enjoy full rights and those of a Palestinian village that do not have rights. And this is not acceptable” (“Israele/Cisgiordania. Yehoshua: ‘L’annessione è apartheid. È tempo di uno Stato unico’”, in www.nena-news.it/israele-cisgiordania-yehoshua-lannessione-e-apartheid-e-tempo-di-uno-stato-unico/, May 16, 2020).
. The great Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim wrote that the U.S. administration’s peace plan “leads away from a peace agreement with the Palestinians. It is a total catastrophe.” The creation of new settlements, and now the planning of the annexation of territories have “given the Palestinians a moral superiority.” But the two peoples are and will somehow always be linked. “Each is the ‘other,’ only together do they form a complete unity” (D. Barenboim, “L’annessione dei territori palestinesi è una catastrofe totale anche per Israele”, in La Stampa, June 8, 2020).
. R. Bongiorni, “Israele, Netanyahu vuole gli insediamenti in Cisgiordania”, in Il Sole 24 Ore, April 8, 2019.
. See Id., “L’annuncio di Netanyahu: ‘Se rieletto annetterò le colonie in Cisgiordania’”, ibid., September 10, 2019.
. See Ibid.
. If all the settlements present in the West Bank were annexed, including the small villages perched on the hills (often illegitimate because they lack government authorization) and surrounded by small and large Palestinian towns, the future Palestinian State would be an unmanageable territory.
. See P. Haski, “Israele verso l’annessione di parte della Cisgiordania” (www.internazionale.it/opinione/pierre-haski/2020/05/01/isreale-annessione-cisgiordania), May 1, 2020.
. D. Waxman, “Quattro domande sugli insediamenti israeliani in Cisgiordania” (www.internazionale.it/notizie/dav-waxman/2019/11/27/insediamenti-israeliani-cisgiordania), November 27, 2019.
. According to Msgr. Giacinto Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Mike Pompeo’s statement, on the internal political level, was disastrous. It “goes in the opposite direction to peace, to the rights of peoples and people. How is it possible to annex land belonging to the Palestinians without their consent? Who are the United States to decide this?” (D. Rocchi, “Usa dichiara ‘non illegali’ le colonie israeliane in Cisgiordania. Mons. Marcuzzo: ‘Pessima notizia per la pace’”, in www.agensir.it/mondo/2019/11/19/usa-dichiara-non-illegali-le-colonie-isreaeliane-in-cisgiordania-mons-marcuzzi-patraicato).
. Agi (Agenzia Giornalistica Italia), “Finiti gli accordi con Usa e Israele, dice il presidente palestinese Abu Mazen”, May 20, 2020.
. Cf. “‘Le statu quo ne peut plus perdurer’: le pari risqué de l’Autorité palestinienne face à l’annexion”, in Le Monde, June 10, 2020.
. “Holy See reaffirms two-state solution to Israeli-Palestine problem”, in https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-05/holy-see-israel-palestine-vatican-gallagher.html /These principles had already been declared in a Note of the Holy See of November 20, 2019, which stated: “The Holy See wishes that the two p arties, negotiating directly with each other, with the support of the international community and in compliance with United Nations resolutions, may find a fair compromise, which takes into account the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples.” (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-11/holy-see-middle-east-press-office-statment-israel-palestine.html).
. “L’Ue: ‘Modifiche delle frontiere di Israele soltanto se concordate con i palestinesi’”, in La Stampa, May 18, 2020.
. See O. Roy, Generazione Isis. Chi sono i giovani che scelgono il califfato e perché combattono l’Occidente, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2017, 87. A positive sign, which bodes well, comes from the institutions: on June 9, the Israeli Supreme Court invalidated a law, passed in 2017, which allowed Israel to take possession, in the West Bank, of hundreds of hectares of land that belonged to refugees. Recently, there have been several protests against the Netanyahu project. See “Israele. Contro l’annessione”, in Internazionale, June 12, 2020, 22.
. In this regard, the Supreme Leader of Iran has proposed as a model to follow for all the occupied territories, that adopted for the Gaza Strip, that is, the organization of an armed party like Hamas: in fact, he said, “the Zionists understand only the language of force” (G. Stabile, “Basta accordi con Israele. Tramonta il sogno di pace del popolo palestinese”, in La Stampa, May 21, 2020).
. It seems that a part of the “Settlement Movement” represented in the “Yesha Council” preferred to put the brakes on the project put forward by Netanyahu, for the simple reason that this implied, in the same way as the Trump Plan, the future recognition of a Palestinian state. It must be remembered, furthermore, that Jordan (a country that falls into the US orbit) threatened to withdraw its ambassador from Israel, if the government carried out its plan of annexation in a unilateral way. It seems that a few days ago Netanyahu had already instructed one of his most trusted advisors “to calm the spirits in the Arab world.” See S. Nizza, “Cisgiordania, l’annessione di Netanyahu che divide Israele” in www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/06/24/news/cisgiordania_annessione_di_netanyahu_che_non_piace_a_isreaele-260076365
. “Press Release of the Holy See Press Office”, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The Holy See on this occasion reaffirmed what it said on November 20, 2019, and May 20, 2020, regarding the current situation, and appealed to the parties to reopen the process of direct negotiation on the basis of the United Nations resolutions. Quoting the words of Pope Francis, it called for “the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict.”
. S. Nizza, “Israele, slitta l’annessione degli insediamenti della Cisgiordania”, in www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/07/01/news/israele_annessione_della_cisgiordania_rimandata_260630011