WEST BANK — In recent months Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

According to the BBC, nearly three million Palestinian Arabs live in the West Bank under a combination of self-rule and Israeli military rule. It is also home to some 430,000 Israeli Jews who live in 132 settlements built under Israeli occupation. Much of the international community considers these settlements illegal under international law.

When a state unilaterally proclaims sovereignty over another territory that is annexation, and it is forbidden by international law. If Israel moves forward with this annexation, there are fears that this will move peace even further out of reach between Israel and the Palestinians.

On May 7, 2020, Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches issued a statement strongly opposed to this proposed annexation:

“As a result of the stagnation of the Peace Process in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians, an array of plans for Israel to unilaterally annex West Bank land, backed mainly by right-wing factions, raises serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades’ long conflict, one that continues to cost many innocent lives as part of a vicious cycle of human tragedy and injustice.

“The Council of Patriarchs and Heads of the Holy Land Churches views such unilateral annexation plans with the utmost concern and calls upon the State of Israel to refrain from such unilateral moves, which would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.”

Read the rest of the statement here.

Photo: Israeli West Bank Wall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.