Palestine: the Threshold from Occupation to Annexation

Date/Time: 05/04/2017  08:30 - 10:00

Location: PRIO

On 5 April, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies will host a breakfast seminar on the risk of Israeli annexation of Palestine, with a keynote by Shawan Jabarin, the Director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq.

A light breakfast will be served. Please register here.

Background

The 50th commemoration of the military occupation of Palestine coincides with an increasing risk of annexation of large Israeli settlements blocs in the West Bank. Government Ministers in Israel are calling for formal annexation of large settlement blocs in the West Bank, and a law proposal is being prepared to the Israeli Knesset to annex the large settlement bloc of Ma’ale Adumim. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry warned in his speech on the Middle East Peace Process in December 2016 that the Israeli law that would allow confiscation of private Palestinian land in order to build settlements, would be a major step towards the process of annexation.

International law is based on the tenet of military occupation being short-lived and temporary, and seeks to hinder the annexation of the occupied territory by the occupying power. The situation of Palestine, with five decades of military occupation, lacks precedence. Israel has formally annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, a move not recognized by the international community. Until now, Israel has not formally annexed the remainder of the West Bank, but continues to hold the territories under military occupation.

Israel has since the start of the military occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, built settlements for their own civilian population on occupied Palestinian territory. Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law, and have been considered by states and international actors to be an obstacle to peace and a threat to the two-state solution.

The international community has long warned of Israeli policies of de facto annexation in so-called “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, and systematic discrimination of Palestinians in this area. The formal annexation of large settlement blocs in the West Bank would be lethal to the international community’s long-stated aim of a two-state solution. Are we now seeing a movement from de facto annexation to formal annexation?

Keynote

The seminar welcomes Shawan Jabarin as keynote speaker. Jabarin is Director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq . Established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the organization has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Together with a panel of experts, Jabarin will address the following questions,

  • Can the shift towards the ideological right in Israeli politics make an annexation more likely?
  • When do we cross the line from de facto to formal annexation?
  • What does annexation mean in practice, and what will be the consequences for Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership?
  • What options are available to the international community, including Norway, in order to counter these developments?

Panel

Chair: Jacob Høigilt (PRIO)

  • Jørgen Jensehaugen is an Associate Professor in Modern History at Lillehammer University College (HiL).
  • Kathrine Raadim is head of the International Programme Department at Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Registration

Please register here. Contact Amanda Cellini (amacel@prio.org) with any questions.

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