Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • The UN Secretary General told a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at a “watershed moment” and that the Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank have alarmed the Palestinians, many Israelis and the international community.
  • Such annexation would be “a most serious violation of international law”.
  • The UN Secretary General called upon the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans and asked the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN) to resume its mandated mediatory role.

Reason for the Alarm

  • The UN Secretary General’s alarm has been sounded in the context of the Israeli Prime Minister’s reported plan to annex 30% of the Occupied West Bank. This will include annexation of all the existing (post-1967) settlements in addition to areas surrounding them and access roads.
  • This, from published accounts, has the approval of the Trump Administration.

What does International Law say?

  • Under international law, annexation is forcible acquisition of territory by one state at the expense of another state.
  • Therefore, such annexation is illegal under international law and would violate the universally acknowledged principle of the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”.
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) described the annexation of occupied territory as a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions, and contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the UN Security Council and the General Assembly that acquisition of territory war or by force is inadmissible.

Effect of this annexation

  • What would be left of the West Bank would be Palestinian Bantustan, islands of disconnected land completely surrounded by Israel and with no territorial connection with the outside world.
  • Israel has recently promised that it will maintain permanent security control between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Views of the People of Israel on Israeli Annexation

  • An opinion poll conducted by the Israeli newspaper showed more than 25% of the Israelis opposed annexation with just over 10% supporting full annexation with political rights for the Palestinians.
  • However, more than 15% of Israelis voted for full annexation with no political rights for Palestinians.  

Israel – Palestine Conflict

  • The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century.
  • The origins to the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs.
  • Despite a long-term peace process and the general reconciliation of Israel with Egypt and Jordan, Israelis and Palestinians have failed to reach a final peace agreement.
  • The key issues are mutual recognition and security, borders, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement, and Palestinian right of return.

What is the Two-state solution?

  • The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.
  • The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the “1967 borders”, which is not accepted by Israel.
  • Many attempts have been made to broker a two-state solution, involving the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel (after Israel’s establishment in 1948).
  • In 2007, the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, according to a number of polls, preferred the two-state solution over any other solution as a means of resolving the conflict.

India’s stand in the Israel – Palestine conflict:

  • Israel and the Palestinian Territories Countries that recognize Palestine as a state
  • India has consistently voted in favour of those resolutions that promote the two-state solution with a Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem.
  • Peace based on two-state solution is much needed in the face of international proposals that are in breach of these principles, and cannot be forged between Israel and a third country [U.S.], but can only come from Israel-Palestine talks, which India also supports.

-Source: The Hindu

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