At a time where most countries around the world are fighting a deadly pandemic, we Palestinians have to fight two pandemics: COVID-19, and the Israeli annexation project, which constitutes a larger threat and danger than the coronavirus, itself.
Going back to history, the political process was launched in Madrid in 1991 under the auspices of US President George H.W. Bush. This was followed by talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, culminating in the 1993 signing of the Declaration of Principles – the Oslo I Accord – on the White House lawn, under the auspices of US President Bill Clinton. This was followed by the 1995 Oslo II Agreement. All of these made clear references to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of international law, a two-state solution and the principle of land for peace.
Therefore, and based on the above, the declared Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank contradicts the history and foundations of peace talks and makes the achievement of peace impossible. In addition, such a thing would erase the two-state solution and establish a system of apartheid that conflicts with basic principles of human rights, violates international law, and pushes the region to an endless cycle of violence.
We, the Palestinian leadership and people, along with all those who believe in justice, freedom, dignity and equality for all, urge the American Congress, institutions and people to push toward reversing the outrageous Israeli decision and cease the annexation of any parts of the Palestinian territory. Israel must adhere to international law and to the calls of the international community and resolutions that support a two-state solution on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders.
Annexation will have dire and devastating consequences on the whole Middle East region, as it will bring nothing but violence and hardship. Israel as an occupying power will bear full responsibility for the deterioration of events, in addition to any accompanying devastation.
For our part, we are committed to international legitimacy and are fighting to preserve the foundations and human values upon which the international community was built. We can’t help but continue fighting, to our full capacity, against whoever does not comply with this. Our case is a human rights struggle that requires a political solution, not a humanitarian or economic issue as Israel promoted, and we will address any attempts to defeat this truth.
We are capable of protecting our own people. The Palestinian Authority’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic, the way it controlled and countered the virus with minimal resources – something Israel itself failed to do – is the biggest proof that we know how to manage our internal affairs and that we already have a state with well-established institutions. We only lack freedom and independence from occupation.