Jerusalem | Denouncing a “de facto annexation” of the West Bank by Israel, more than 400 European parliamentarians called on Monday, in a letter consulted by AFP, their countries to take advantage of the arrival of Joe Biden in Washington to mobilize against the colonization of Occupied Palestinian Territories.
On the initiative of several former Israeli officials, 442 deputies and senators from twenty European countries signed this letter sent overnight from Sunday to Monday to the foreign ministries of various European countries.
“Developments on the ground are clearly tending towards a rapidly progressing reality of de facto annexation, especially with the expansion of settlements and the demolitions of Palestinian structures,” write the parliamentarians, including British MP Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labor Party. , and the French Jean-Luc Mélenchon (radical left).
“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, last year saw the highest number of demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures in four years,” they continue.
On Thursday, several European chanceries asked Israel to return equipment donated by their countries and confiscated from Bedouins in Hamsa al-Baqa, a hamlet in the north of the Jordan Valley considered “illegal” by the Jewish state.
The Israeli army has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967, where approximately 3.1 million Palestinians and more than 675,000 Israelis live today in settlements deemed illegal by international law.
Israeli colonization has accelerated in recent years under the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with the benevolence of his ally in Washington, Donald Trump.
New US President Joe Biden has been critical of the settlements and pledged to step up efforts to create a Palestinian state.
“The start of the Biden presidency provides an essential opportunity to act,” say MEPs.
Their appeal was initiated by four Israeli officials including Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset (Parliament).
“The annexation is taking place before our eyes: colonization and demolitions of Palestinian houses are accelerating and Europe must take immediate and concrete actions to put an end to these destructive practices, by working with the Biden administration”, a- he told AFP.
The “Trump Plan” for the Middle East, presented in January 2020, notably provided for the annexation by Israel of parts of the West Bank. But Israel suspended this annexation project last summer in favor of an agreement to normalize its relations with the United Arab Emirates.