AL-QUDS (Dispatches) -- A confidant of PM Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the Zionist leader’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would not start on Wednesday, the original target date.
The developments cast further uncertainty over whether Israel will ultimately follow through on the explosive annexation initiative, which has drawn fierce international condemnations from some of the occupying regime’s closest allies.
Speaking on Israel’s Army Radio station, cabinet minister Ofir Akunis confirmed that the annexation process would not begin on Wednesday, saying that officials were still working out the final details with their American counterparts. He said he expected the annexation to take place later in July.
"Coordination with the American administration is not something that can be dismissed,” he said.
The decision, however, came as Hamas fires volley of rockets into sea in warning against the annexation. A Hamas spokesperson said last week that it views Israel’s intentions over parts of the West Bank as a declaration of war.
On Tuesday, Palestinian factions in Gaza declared Wednesday a "Day of Rage” against the annexation plans.
Netanyahu had aimed to start the process by Wednesday, saying he wanted to begin annexing West Bank territory in line with President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan. The plan, unveiled in January, envisions bringing some 30% of the territory under permanent Israeli control, while giving the Palestinians limited autonomy in carved-up pockets of the remaining land.
But the plan has come under stiff
international criticism. The United Nations, the European Union and key Arab countries have all said the annexation would violate international law and undermine the already diminished prospects of establishing a viable independent Palestinian state. Even close allies, like Britain, have opposed it.
In a front-page article in the Yediot Ahronot daily, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote that as a "passionate defender of Israel,” he was particularly troubled by its intentions. He noted his long links to the occupying regime, dating back to when volunteered on a kibbutz as an 18-year-old and his "many visits” since then.
Johnson warned annexation "would put in jeopardy” the gains Israel has made in recent years in improving relations with the Arab world.
The Zionist entity captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. The international community considers the territory occupied land, and Israel’s more than 120 settlements there illegal. The Palestinians, who seek all of the West Bank as part of a future state, have rejected the Trump plan.
Several thousand Palestinians marched in Gaza City for a "day of rage” on Wednesday to protest the annexation plans, one of several demonstrations that were expected in Palestinian areas. The protesters waved Palestinian flags and held signs calling the plan a "declaration of war” on the Palestinian people. The rally ended peacefully by the early afternoon.
Israel has built scores of settlements in the West Bank that are now occupied by nearly 500,000 Zionists. The international community considers the area occupied and its settlements to be illegal.
Netanyahu has defended his annexation plan on both security and religious grounds and says the friendly Trump administration has provided a rare opportunity to redraw the occupied borders. He is eager to move forward before November’s U.S. presidential election, especially with Trump’s re-election prospects in question, and made sure that the coalition agreement for his new regime included the July 1 date for him to introduce a plan to parliament.