UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump gave the green light for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Among the most prominent of these parts is the Jordan Valley border area with the Kingdom of Jordan, which constitutes 40% of the area of the West Bank.
After the United States announced a peace plan, Israel threatened to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, while the Palestinians announced that they would cut ties, including security, with the Jewish state and the United States.
However, analysts believe that implementing this in the short term may be more difficult than the two sides expect.
What can Israel include?
On January 28, US President Donald Trump announced his long-awaited peace plan for the Middle East called the “Deal of the Century”. But many considered it biased towards Israel .
The American plan gave Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley and settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians believe that this step means the impossibility of establishing a Palestinian state.
The Jordan Valley is a strategic area that constitutes forty percent of the area of the West Bank that Israel occupied in the year 1967.
The annexation of this area, which borders the Jordan, may anger the kingdom, which signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994.
After the Washington announcement, Israeli officials said that the government will discuss at its weekly meeting on Sunday the issue.
Israeli officials expressed “security concern” about the move.
The adviser to the American President and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who led the peace plan in the Middle East, has stated that Washington does not want any steps on the ground before the Israeli general elections scheduled for the second of next March. “Now, we will start working on technical matters, but I think we will need an Israeli government to move forward,” he said.
The government meeting was canceled on Sunday without announcing a specific reason.
The researcher at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies, Kobe Michael, points to “concern” of the army and other Israeli security forces about the possibility of escalating tension.
According to Michael, “There was a recommendation by the (military) staff of the political leadership not to rush into the annexation step.”
The Israeli army had announced the reinforcement of its forces in the area.
What is the Palestinian position?
The American plan for peace in the Middle East has angered the Palestinians, especially the leadership.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday from Cairo that he cut off “any relationship, including security,” with Israel and the United States, stressing his freedom from his obligations under the Oslo agreements.
Security coordination, according to analysts, is an important element in maintaining calm in the occupied West Bank, where the Abbas government has limited autonomy in major cities.
“The biggest challenge (for the army) is the outbreak of a new Palestinian revolt out of control, especially if the security coordination is added to it, the challenge will be greater,” says researcher at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies, Kobe Michael.
The first Palestinian intifada erupted in 1987 and lasted six years until 1993. The second intifada began in the year 2000.
Will the Palestinian president move forward?
The Palestinian threat to cut ties is not new, but it has not been implemented.
The director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Uzi Rabi, said that the 84-year-old Abbas’s continuation of his threat means encouraging Islamic armed movements, led by Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
The security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel allows the dismantling of cells of armed Islamic groups in the occupied West Bank.
“For Abbas, security coordination prevents Hamas from entering the West Bank,” Rabi added.
On the ground, it is not clear whether coordination has actually stopped or remains a possibility.
Palestinian political analyst Jihad Harb believes that Abbas’s announcement “is still in the context of the threat,” explaining that “stopping security coordination means a complete end to the security relationship, but we have not seen anything on the ground yet.”
As for the former Palestinian minister, Ghassan Al-Khatib, he believes that this time Abbas’s language was more direct than previous times. “They have always spoken in the past about forming committees to study severing ties or some kind of language manipulation,” he said.
But this time they said they had already informed the Israelis and the United States, and there was no kind of “disclaimer.”
Al-Khatib points out that the actual severing of security relations with Israel means that they will respond to freezing coordination in other areas, and this will make the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank more difficult.
More than 400,000 Israelis live in settlements, alongside nearly three million Palestinians.
“Previous experience can lead to skepticism,” said Hugh Lovat, an analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “But although Abbas may be issuing a routine warning that has no value, we must remember that this danger has once materialized,” he added.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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