Al Monitor

Is Israel annexing West Bank Area C?

A view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim is seen near Jerusalem July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo - RTX2JRJ5

A view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim is seen near Jerusalem July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo – RTX2JRJ5

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is today more concerned with what they define as the gradual annexation of Area C in the West Bank (61% of the territory in which Israel, according to the Oslo Accord, has full civil and security jurisdiction) than with the settlements expansion.

Talking to Israeli Knesset members on July 27, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen claimed that 70% of Area C land, which makes up 42% of the West Bank, has been designated Israeli land. He said that between 2009 and 2013 only 44 housing permits have been granted to Area C Palestinians.

A senior PLO official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the Palestinian leadership plans to launch a struggle, initially through an international diplomatic campaign, against the Israeli de facto annexation of major parts of the West Bank. “Almost half of Palestine is in Israeli hands, and half a million settlers live east of the Green Line. We will use all measures to prevent the annexation of the West Bank. The situation has significantly worsened since Avigdor Liberman is minister of defense,” he said.

The European Union is very much aware of this process. A senior European official close to Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high commissioner for foreign affairs and security policy, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Brussels and the main EU capitals are very alarmed by the de facto annexation and are planning to take certain steps to halt this dangerous process. Such a plan should ultimately be negotiated with the parties themselves and also presented to the Quartet.

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