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Stealthily stealing more land

Oct 04,2017 - Last updated at Oct 04,2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, true to form, is taking advantage of the Arab world’s preoccupation with internecine conflicts to endorse the so-called Greater Jerusalem Bill that aims to annex 19 settlements from around the city.

This latest move would incorporate large settlements like Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Givat Ze’ev into Jerusalem municipality, colonies inhabited by no less than 125,000 Israelis, a figure that is projected to increase when they become part of the so-called Greater Jerusalem.

What Israel is doing or plans to do in the West Bank is obviously not on the radar of the Arab world. The Arab states have more pressing issues on their agendas, such as the war in Yemen, the Kurdish referendum for independence in Iraq, the Syrian conflict and the situation in Libya, among others.

No wonder Netanyahu is exploiting the tangled situation in the Arab world to do as he pleases in the Palestinian territories, especially in Jerusalem.

By annexing these considerable settlements, Israel is working to change the demographics, an old preoccupation of a colonist nation afraid to be numerically overwhelmed by the native Palestinians.

Not that the world cares. The US ambassador to Israel already said, in so many words, that Israeli settlements should remain part of greater Israel, peace talks or not.

As a matter of fact, Israel has just announced advanced plans for 4,000 new houses for its people in the West Bank. At this rate, not much will be left of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to still negotiate over with the Palestinian side.

Hopefully the recent rapprochement between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza will awaken the Palestinians to the great dangers that lie ahead and they will accelerate their unity efforts in order to face the additional threats from Israel.

But Palestinians alone cannot do much. If the international community is conveniently busy with its own problems, at least the Arab countries should take action.

 

They could make use of the current UN General Assembly meeting to raise attention to the latest Israeli provocations and, more importantly, require a resolution forbidding the illegal Israeli moves.

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