LWF joins inter-agency call against annexation of Palestinian territory
AIDA: "Flagrant violation of international law”
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) joins a call by the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) on the Government of Israel to forgo plans to further annex areas of the occupied Palestinian territory, including much of the Jordan Valley and areas where Israeli settlements have been established.
The statement is following the release of the Israeli coalition government agreement on 20 April, calling for a legislative process to extend Israeli sovereignty, law and administration over parts the West Bank from 1 July, and the US political framework released in January supporting Israeli acquisition of at least 30 percent of the West Bank.
“Any annexation of occupied Palestinian territory constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and must be opposed by the international community,” the statement reads. AIDA urgently calls on the international community to “communicate to Israel, privately and publicly, lawful countermeasures that will be adopted to prevent it from resorting to the formal annexation of large parts of the West Bank.”
“Devastating effect on lives and livelihoods”
The 84 member organizations of AIDA especially voiced their concern about the effects such annexation would have on the lives of the Palestinians living in the West Bank. “Through our work in the occupied Palestinian territories, AIDA members and our Palestinian and Israeli partners witness the devastating effect of occupation and annexation on Palestinian lives and livelihoods,” the statement says.
The annexation will move a peaceful solution to the conflict further away and silence those that call for peace.
“In areas already subject to de facto annexation, we see spiraling poverty and chronic dependency on relief provided by AIDA members and other humanitarian actors. Annexation would restrict humanitarian relief and development support to Palestinians living in newly-annexed areas,” the aid organizations caution.
Hindrance to peaceful solution
“The impending annexation of almost 60 percent of the West Bank is a flagrant breach to international law. The Palestinian people will have to bear the brunt of it,” said LWF country representative of the Jerusalem program, Sieglinde Weinbrenner.
“The land, especially in the Jordan valley is resource-rich arable land and the source of livelihood of many Palestinian farmer communities. They might face eviction and expropriation and limited access to basic services. The annexation will move a peaceful solution to the conflict further away and silence those that call for peace.”
AIDA members are calling upon the global community to “stand firm in ensuring respect for international law, including the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.”
LWF is present in the region through its member church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and its country program, LWF Jerusalem. The country program runs the Augusta Victoria Hospital, a center of medical excellence, which provides specialized dialysis and cancer treatment to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. It also supports the Palestinian people through vocational training and other community support projects.