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A letter from German Friends of CfP to the German Government

A Call for action:
The Annexation Plan of the Israeli government is in no way a solution for peace

We, German Friends of Combatants for Peace and Combatants for Peace in Israel/Palestine, united in our aspiration for a true and durable peace between Palestinians and Israelis, denounce in strongest terms possible, the plan repeatedly announced by members of the Israeli government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank. Not only is the so-called Annexation Plan an unacceptable, illegal and shameful idea as such; it is driven by a pessimistic vision and reprehensible values regarding the consequences for Near East region which go far beyond the political move itself.

Worldwide, a large number of civil society organizations, politicians, prominent personalities and even Israeli security experts have expressed their critique regarding potential ramification of the proposed annexation. Representatives of states around the world have also rejected the plan. Our present appeal joins this stand. We convey this Call for action to all German ministers and lawmakers following the appeal of Combatants for Peace, in partnership with other antioccupation organizations, sent to M. Heiko Maas, German Minister of Foreign Affairs, to “object to the annexation in a clear and loud voice” during his recent June visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

Combatants for Peace, a binational Israeli-Palestinian movement founded more than 15 years ago, incarnates through its joint non-violent activism against the Occupation, the very opposite of the Annexation Plan. Rather it represents a vision of a just peace based on mutual agreements, dignity and equal rights for
all.

A dangerous unilateral move

We reject the intention of the Israeli government to take another unilateral decision, ignoring international law, deepening the reality of apartheid in the West Bank, and paving the way to an escalation of the situation toward another cycle of bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians.

There is no question that the annexation of any extra-national territories by any country goes against international law. The same prevails for the prolonged occupation of a foreign territory. With its view to annex territories of the occupied West Bank, the Israeli government aims to perpetuate Israeli rule over the West Bank and prevent any chance of a bilateral and thus sustainable agreement between Israeli and Palestinian decision makers. Such a vision of a presumed authority of Israel over the Palestinian people is intolerable.

We as Combatants for Peace, on the contrary, strive for a true partnership between Israelis and Palestinians, in which both parties and all people have the same say in finding an acceptable solution to end the conflict and to live side by side in equality. We acknowledge that notwithstanding an existing asymmetry toward suffering and deprivations, both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples share despair, losses, grief, and also a profound aspiration for peace. We believe that only a dialogue based on respect and willingness to listen to the aspirations of the Other can lead to successful resolution of the conflict and genuine equality, thereby creating the conditions for sustainable peace.

Another act of discrimination

If implemented, any form of annexation will be a new, possibly irreversible measure in the ongoing discriminatory policy pursued by the Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories, which include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. It will constitute another act of systematic discrimination and deprivation of the Palestinian people. It will only deepen the situation of apartheid already endured by the Palestinians in these occupied territories.

No matter what actually occurs on July 1st, the abject restrictions that Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza have been subjected to for more than 53 years under the Israeli occupation must end, unconditionally.

Against the interest of Israel

We are convinced that the Annexation Plan hold nothing of good for the Israelis either. In the Near East, any move toward annexation could jeopardize the peace treaty signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994. The leaders of the Kingdom of Jordan have explicitly warned against annexation. On May 19, the Palestinian Authority declared an end to the agreements and understandings signed with Israel and also with the United States, including the agreements for security cooperation and other agreements from the Oslo understandings.

In all, we subscribe to the view of the philosopher Friedrich Engels that a people suppressing another people cannot be free. The Israelis among us categorically reject the belief that our existence in Israel is dependent on the strength of our sword. Indeed, we believe that such a belief will damn us to constant conflict and war.

We do not want to be occupiers.

Our demands:

Based on these positions, we call upon the German government to take a leading role against annexation and to prevent any escalation of violence in the Near East. We call upon the German government to become an active partner in a genuine peace process that includes Palestinian and Israeli representation.

We acknowledge the annual budgets the Bundesministerium fuer Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) dedicates to Ziviler Friedensdienst projects, but, at the same time, we urge all to remember their obligation to respect the fundaments of international law.

On this basis, we call upon the German authorities to act in full accordance with the declarations made by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell on May 18 and to use Germany’s concomitantly preponderant roles as presiding chair of both the Council of the European Union and the UN Security Council during the month of July 2020 to advocate for the passage of a UNSC Resolution firmly condemning any attempt by Israel to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territories, and accompanied by the commitment to apply concrete sanctions in the case that annexation is indeed undertaken.

Independently of international action taken, we don’t see how the EU-Israeli Trade Agreement could possibly be maintained without amendment, when the territory of one of the parties to the Trade Agreement (in this case Israel) has been obtained illegally and internationally disputed. UNSC resolution 2334 make such distinctions explicitly clear.

In all, we call upon the German government and lawmakers to reject both the idea of annexation and also the ongoing, prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories. We wish to see in the government and lawmakers of Germany trustworthy partners in the struggle for a renewed dialogue for a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

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