No to a new Nakba! No to the annexation of the West Bank!

The 15th of May marks the day of Nakba – the catastrophe that, in 1948, befell the Palestinian people, accompanying the unilateral proclamation of Israel's independence. In the following weeks, more than 700,000 people were driven from their homes and lands by Zionist violence, in an ethnic cleansing that gave rise to what is, to this day, the largest refugee community in the world.

This anniversary of the Nakba is marked by the real danger of a repetition of the 1948 tragedy. Following Netanyahu's plans, the announced program of Israel’s coalition government foresees the annexation of extensive areas of the West Bank, an internationally recognized Palestinian territory. This announced annexation represents a blatant violation of international law, of the resolutions passed by the UN for more than 70 years and even of the agreements signed by Israel, including those resulting from processes conducted by the USA in the last 30 years. It confirms Israel's bad faith in negotiations, already evident in the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank — and the apartheid wall — and in the military exclusion zones along the Jordan River valley, now threatened with annexation by Israel.

The annexation of extensive areas of the West Bank, already announced for the 1st of July, would be a qualitative leap of unprecedented gravity, culminating in an escalation of provocations and challenges to International Law, either by Israel and by the USA and President Trump. Decades of acceptance and active participation of the Palestinian side in political processes - inside and outside the UN framework - and decades of painful concessions, which include the acceptance of a Palestinian state in only 22% of its historic territory, are rewarded with the continued expansion towards Greater Israel, the long-standing goal of the Zionist movement.

The annexation of any parcel of territory makes the creation of a Palestinian state unfeasible. It destroys the prospect of a negotiated solution to the Palestinian question. It discredits the UN and the very concept of negotiated resolution of international conflicts. It opens the door to the escalation and perpetuation of conflicts in the Middle East. It will lead to a new Nakba, which is already foreshadowing in the news about the intensification of settler violence and the increase in Israeli raids in the West Bank, even targeting facilities and equipment for the treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic. The danger of intensifying Israeli abuses after an annexation has already been denounced by the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk.

It is imperative that there is a vigorous reaction from the governments that for years have promised the Palestinian people the creation of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital. Anyone who does not take a clear, strong and unambiguous position today in defence of international legality will become an accomplice to the crime and will not be able to regret the consequences tomorrow. It is unacceptable that, given the proclaimed intention of annexation, there is no immediate position of full recognition of the Palestinian State, at the 1967 borders. It is unacceptable that, given the proclaimed intention of annexation, the cooperation and collaboration of the European Union and its member countries with Israel, namely within the scope of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and in particular cooperation in the military field, cooperation that the MPPM has repeatedly denounced.

The MPPM deeply regrets the attitude of the Portuguese government, which remains silent and, according to international press reports, does not even follow diplomatic initiatives from some European Union countries, namely that of 11 ambassadors in Israel who informed Benjamin Netanyahu of their opposition to annexation. Not firmly condemning annexation means disregarding International Law, successive United Nations resolutions, the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the recommendation of the Assembly of the Republic that the Government fully recognize the State of Palestine.

We are facing the real danger of another huge betrayal of the Palestinian people. The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic – a threat also to the Palestinian people, in particular the beleaguered people of Gaza and the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons – cannot make us forget or hide the gravity of the moment.

It is urgent to stop Israel's annexationist plans!

It is urgent to prevent a new Nakba for the Palestinian people!

Lisbon, May 15, 2020

The National Directorate of MPPM

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