Israel must annex West Bank settlements if UNSC adopts Palestinian resolution – education minister
Israel should declare sovereignty over the occupied territories in the West Bank, which is home to Israeli settlers, if the UN adopts any Security Council resolution further condemning illegal settlement activity, Israel’s education minister said.
The Palestinians have initiated several unilateral resolutions at the UN Security Council over the years with an aim to condemn Israel over its illegal construction activities in Judea and Samaria. They hope that international pressure might help to facilitate peace settlement talks with the Jewish state.
In September, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas assured the UN General Assembly that Palestine would renew its strive to pass a Security Council resolution declaring Jewish “settlements” illegal.
As debates in the Security Council continue, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett urged the Israelis to be ready to annex the settlement areas if the UNSC votes on any resolutions on the matter.
“There is a discussion that in the coming months the UN Security Council will force a resolution on Israel. If that happens, we need to have an appropriate Zionist response, immediate sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, including Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel, Ofra and Beit El,” the minister said at a political meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday night.
“The UNSC council [sic] resolution should be a trigger to put this plan into action,” said Bennet. “Gentlemen, it is time to extend our sovereignty in the land of Israel.”
“Why do I say this? The entire story of settling [the land] and Zionism is a story of a great vision and the determination to see that vision through,” the minister said.
“Each time there was a clear vision and the determination to carry out that vision. The next step is the responsibility of us all...after 50 years, it is time for sovereignty,” he concluded.
It remains highly unlikely that the Security Council will pass a resolution before the November 8 US election. Last month, a group of 88 US senators urged President Barack Obama to veto one-sided UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian Arab issue.
As Bennet called into action the plan to fully annex the settlements, settlers already started to prepare for Monday’s demonstration on the opening day of the Knesset. The activists and the right-wing politicians plan to demand a new bill to annex the third largest West Bank settlement, Ma’aleh Adumim, home to over 37,000 people, the Jerusalem Post reported.
As part of their campaign, activists glued large photographs of former Israeli political heavyweights, including Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, on buildings, implying that they supported the occupation.
The Peres family attacked the group for using photographs Israel’s former president, who died last month.
“It’s a crude advertising trick,” the family said. “There is no end to the cynicism of this campaign. They know very well that Peres opposed the occupation."
More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and around East Jerusalem, built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The occupied territories have been seeking full independence from Israel for decades, with Palestinians demanding full recognition as a sovereign state from the UN and the international community.