A recent article by former Knesset member Moshe Raz sheds light on the Israeli government’s covert moves towards de facto annexation of the West Bank since its formation.
According to Raz, these efforts are being spearheaded by Finance Minister Yisrael Katz and Settlement Minister Orit Struck, using judicial amendments as a smokescreen to advance their agendas in the region.
One such development is the allocation of 700 million new shekels to settlements in Palestinian territories, particularly in the northern West Bank. This financial maneuver, backed by Katz and Struck, aims to bolster settlements in a move widely seen as an annexation strategy.
Crucially, Raz points out that the Ministry of Interior has been quietly authorized to transfer funds to unregulated areas in the West Bank, effectively marking a historic shift towards de facto annexation.
This transfer of power from military control to civilian governance contradicts long-standing international laws dictating the administration of occupied territories, Raz’s article indicated.
“What further raises concerns is the Netanyahu-Smotrich-Ben Gvir government’s determination to strip away the thin veneer of compliance with international laws regarding settlements,” the article read.
Raz cited numerous other examples of the government’s ambitions toward annexation through actions such as setting the minimum voting age for the Knesset’s right-wing majority to pass a law canceling the separation of the northern West Bank and legitimizing certain settlement outposts.
These measures erode Israel’s previous commitments to the United States regarding settlements and disengagement, potentially leading to an “apartheid-like situation,” as described by Raz.
Challenging International Norms
The review of increased powers granted to the Israeli government in the West Bank exposes a stealthy annexation strategy.
Netanyahu’s claim that these actions do not violate international agreements suggests a deeper move to transfer authority within the West Bank, eventually implementing Israeli laws in Palestinian areas, thereby dividing the legal framework into separate systems, one for Jewish settlers and another for Palestinians.