close
Saturday November 27, 2021

Palestine says it will declare statehood if Israel annexes WB

By AFP
June 10, 2020

WEST BANK: Palestine will declare statehood over all of the West Bank and Gaza, with al-Quds as its capital, and push for global recognition if Israel goes ahead with plans to annex land it occupies, the Palestinian prime minister has said.

Mohammad Shtayyeh described the possible step pledged by the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, as an “existential threat” to a decades-long international effort for Israelis and Palestinians to reach an agreement that establishes two states side by side.

He said Palestine would not continue to wait on statehood just to honour previous agreements made with Israel if it broke them by annexing territory. “It takes two to tango.”Shtayyeh said he was leading a concerted push to gather diplomatic pressure against Israel and wanted world powers to threaten sanctions on Netanyahu’s government so that “Israel does not get away with murder”.

“What we want is that Israel should feel the heat,” Shtayyeh said at a press conference held by the local Foreign Press Association in Ramallah on Tuesday.

Palestinian leaders have declared statehood in the past, including Yasser Arafat in 1988. In 2012, Palestine gained UN observer state status. However, with the Palestinian territories remaining occupied by Israel, and in the absence of an agreement, there has not been full international recognition.

Shtayyeh, for example, is the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, a body created in 1994 and intended to be a pre-state interim government.“The fruits of peace have never actually materialised since the signing of the agreement,” Shtayyeh said.With Israeli forces in control of the Palestinian territories, any declaration of statehood would be largely symbolic.

However, Shtayyeh’s government might hope that growing international unease over Israel’s annexation plans could encourage governments to formally back Palestinian claims.

His comments will also be interpreted as further exasperation from the Palestinian leadership, which has seen Israel – with backing from Donald Trump – move to solidify its already tight territorial grip.

Palestinian officials have been scrambling to respond to Israeli threats of annexation for months. In May, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, announced that all previous agreements signed with the US and Israel, including security cooperation, were void.