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Trump Administration Warns Israel from Annexing West Bank | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. AP

Tel Aviv- At a time when Israeli authorities issued orders to demolish dozens of Palestinian houses in Jerusalem’s suburbs in order to annex these territories to their boundaries, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday that Israel has received a direct message from US President Donald Trump’s administration warning of an “immediate crisis” if the government were to annex the West Bank and apply Israeli sovereignty there.

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Liberman said that he had received calls from all over the world criticizing the idea of annexation, including a candid communique from the new US administration.

“The coalition should make unequivocally clear that there is no intention at the moment to apply Israeli sovereignty,” the Defense Minister said.

Furthermore, “we received a message directly — not indirectly, not a hint — from the US, that Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank means an immediate crisis with the new administration,” he added.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from them asking me, ‘What’s the coalition’s position?’ I want to make it very clear, at least concerning my worldview: We need to separate from the Palestinians and not absorb Palestinians into our territory,” he said.

He also cited the vast financial burden of offering “at least citizenship” to 2.7 million people, saying it would immediately cost Israel NIS 20 billion ($5.4 billion).

In Geneva, a draft of a report due to be published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights blamed Israel for acting to annex the disputed territories in the West Bank and urged companies to end trade and business agreements with Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The report was written by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Jordanian Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

It is also said bereft of any mention of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank or in general.

The report noted that 2017 marks 50 years since the Six Day War (the text described this period as 50 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian Land).

It additionally stated that Israel’s activities in the West Bank have brought on a consistent growth of the settler population and a unilateral takeover of widespread areas of land, in opposition to international law.

“With the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory now in its 50th year, the illegal settlement enterprise continues to advance apace. Through unabated expansion of illegal settlements and parallel efforts to consolidate Israel’s control over the West Bank, successive Israeli governments since 1967 have overseen the steady growth of the settler population and the unilateral takeover of large swaths of the west bank’s land reserves, in clear violation of international law.”

The report went on to state that Israel’s actions have dire effects on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.