WEST BANK (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime has erected “a formal, full-fledged apartheid regime,” the editorial of Haaretz newspaper says, in a stark warning about the direction of the occupying regime.
Drawing attention to measures introduced by the far-right regime led by Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz’s editorial said that they include the contentious decision to grant Zionist finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, control over the occupied West Bank.
For decades, the occupying regime has governed the occupied Palestinian territories beyond the 1949 Green (Armistice) Line through a military administration. Indeed, that is a “principle of international law”. An agreement was reached during January’s coalition talks, however, to place the occupied territories under civilian rule.
“Once the agreement is implemented, Smotrich will in effect become the governor of the West Bank, holding powers that will allow him to control nearly almost all areas of life there, including planning, building and infrastructure, which he intends to use to expand the settlement enterprise and stop all Palestinian development,” said Haaretz.
Although this is unlikely to have any bearing on the pace of illegal settlement construction or the inhuman treatment of Palestinians, transferring control from the military admiration to a civilian authority has major ramifications. According to Haaretz, it will constitute a de jure annexation of the occupied West Bank. Formal annexation was meant to have been locked away following the so-called Abraham Accords, and Arab leaders defended the normalization deal by saying that it had prevented the occupying regime from formally annexing the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there will be no change in the plan to build illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu’s remarks came following a meeting held in Aqaba, Jordan on Sunday, with the participation of Palestine, the Zionist regime, Jordan, the U.S., and Egypt.
The Zionist premier denied reports by the media that the occupying regime following the meeting decided to freeze the construction of new settlements in the West Bank for four months.
“Construction and arrangement in Judea and Samaria (the Jewish name for the West Bank) will continue according to the original planning and schedule without any changes. There is not and will not be any freezing,” Netanyahu tweeted.
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry published the closing statement of the security meeting in Aqaba, saying: “Israel and the Palestinian National Authority confirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months.”
“This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorization of any outposts for 6 months,” it added.
The meeting in the city of Aqaba was called by the U.S., Egypt, and Jordan to discuss de-escalating tensions between the Palestinian and Zionist delegates.
The Aqaba meeting was the first of its kind since the U.S.-sponsored talks between the delegates collapsed in 2014 over the occupying regime’s refusal to halt the settlement constructions and release Palestinians imprisoned before 1993.
The meeting came amid tensions across the occupied territories following Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.
At least 62 Palestinians were killed by the occupying regime’s army fire in the West Bank since the start of this year, according to Palestinian figures.