Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shatyyeh has called on the international community to recognize an independent Palestinian state if Israel goes on with its plan to annex larger parts of the occupied West Bank.
During a press conference ahead of a cabinet meeting , the Palestinian official said the Jordan Valley, which Israel plans to annex, makes up 28 percent of the whole West Bank.
“The Jordan Valley is considered a ‘vegetable basket’ for Palestine and our connecting point with Jordan and the world,” Shatyyeh said, stressing that a strong position adopted by the Arab world and Europe “would be sufficient to rein in Israel.”
“The Palestinian state’s geography stands on this area, together with East Jerusalem , Gaza Strip and all Palestinian territories,” he said, adding, “The Jordan Valley is our meeting point with Jordan, through which we go out to the world.”
“Condemnation statements do not work with Israel, the response to annexation must be actual boycott and the recognition of the Palestinian state over 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and honoring the right of return for Palestinian refugees,” the Palestinian PM added.
In defiance of international outcry, President Donald Trump of the United States officially unveiled his much-condemned peace scheme for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the so-called deal of the century – in January at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his side, while Palestinian representatives were not invited.
The American proposal meets Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allowing the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
The proposal, which further denies the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their homeland, is also in total disregard of UN Security Council resolutions and is opposed by the vast majority of the international community.
Netanyahu, who is facing a number of criminal indictments, has repeatedly stressed that he would start plans for annexing more areas in the West Bank on July 1, in accordance with Trump’s scheme, further infuriating Palestinians.
Palestinian officials have already threatened to abolish all bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes with the annexation plans.
They warn that under the US scheme, Israel will annex 30 to 40 percent of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem.
They also view the so-called peace scheme as Washington’s seal of approval for Israel’s long-desired annexation of territories it has been illegally occupying for decades.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already said that Trump’s deal “belongs to the dustbin of history.”