Thousands of Israelis attend a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, June 6, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Over a hundred jurists and law scholars from around the world, including scores from Israel, have said Israel’s plans to annex the occupied West Bank would “constitute a flagrant violation of bedrock rules of international law, and would also pose a serious threat to international stability in a volatile region.”
Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would also “entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances – lead to individual international criminal liability,” a letter signed by the legal professionals said. “The norm prohibiting unilateral annexation of territory acquired by force has come to be universally recognized as a basic rule of international law.”
The letter was directed at the State of Israel along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
Earlier this month, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, expressed concerns about the annexation plan.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said in recent weeks that Israel will annex approximately 30 per cent of the West Bank with measures coming into place from 1 July.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there -- as well as the planned annexation -- illegal.
Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it goes ahead with the annexation, which would further undermine the two-state solution.
The annexation comes as part of US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century," which was announced on Jan. 28. It refers to Jerusalem as "Israel's undivided capital" and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank
The plan states the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected through bridges and tunnels.
Palestinian officials say that under the US plan, Israel will annex 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem.