As Israel threatens West Bank annexation, Gazans recall settler withdrawal

As Israel threatens West Bank annexation, Gazans recall settler withdrawal


Gaza: Vineyard owner Haidar al-Zahar is pleased to recall the day in 2005 when Israel withdrew settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip, a minority of Palestinians thought they had never seen Part of the withdrawal.

“I felt like a prisoner who suddenly found himself a free man,” he said.

Ten and a half years later, he was on the battlefield. Israel is considering whether to annex its Jewish settlements to the occupied West Bank, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Gaza, which the Palestinians see as the heart of the future country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has scheduled to begin cabinet discussions on the annexation of parts of the West Bank on July 1, with 420,000 settlers living in parts of the West Bank, citing Israel’s security needs and religious and religious relations with the country. Historical connections.

“Israel today has all the power. No one can deny that – they can do whatever they want,” Zahar, 68, said in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas.

He urged Palestinians to wage “armed resistance” to prevent annexation, claiming that Israel evacuated its troops and 8,500 settlers from Gaza a decade and a half ago in part because of Palestinian attacks.

“Without willing martyrs, nothing will change,” he said.

Hamas s armed wing echoed that call for confrontation on Thursday, calling annexation “a declaration of war against our Palestinian people”.

“We will make the enemy bite its fingers in regret for such a sinful decision,” said Abu Ubaida, spokesman of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades.

Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 war. It unilaterally withdrew its settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005 and expressed its hope to improve its security and international status without peace talks.

However, it imposed a blockade on Gaza and restricted the movement of people and goods on the grounds of security concerns about Hamas and other Palestinian radical organizations there.

The United Nations Special Envoy for the Middle East Nikolai Mladnov reiterated on Thursday the position of the United Nations that the annexation of parts of the West Bank would be “violating international law”, and Israel objected.

But he urged the Palestinian leadership not to “escape the road to peace”, and emphasized that there would be danger if the Palestinians were left without hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

“That only creates opportunities for radicals or people with more destructive agendas to come in and fill that vacuum,” Mladenov said in Jerusalem.

“Another explosion, another war that would happen here would be a terrible, terrible tragedy. Not just a human tragedy but a failure of leadership on all sides,” he told journalists.

However, Mohammad Seidam, 84, said in the Gaza area in southern Rafah that Palestinians in the West Bank should not give up hope. He said: “They built gardens, farms and greenhouses in Gaza, and God removed them.”

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