Imaan Hammam is using her platform to call attention to a longstanding human rights crisis in the Middle East. It is about to escalate into what the UN Secretary-General calls a “most serious violation of international law”: Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been tragically ongoing since the 1940s, Israel’s parliament is expected to vote tomorrow, July 1 on whether it will commence its controversial plan to annex up to 30 percent of occupied West Bank territories, including the Jordan Valley and the northern Red Sea where nearly 65,000 Palestinians call home. If the plan is approved, Palestinians currently living within that designated zone will likely face limited access to healthcare, education, and other essential civil rights, and may be at higher risk of being forced to move from the land they legally own.
The Dutch Moroccan-Egyptian model shared a series of infographics created by the Students for Justice in Palestine group at Georgetown University on her Instagram story earlier today to highlight this issue to her nearly one million followers. The post outlines the implications of this seizure that is deemed illegal under international law, labeling it as “land theft”, “apartheid”, and “Nakba in real-time”. Delving slightly into the historical background of annexation worldwide, the post goes on to explain there have only been three cases since World War II, with two occurring in the region.
“This annexation would see a massive expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and give Israel exclusive control over natural resources located in those areas,” states one graphic. “Annexation would make the daily nightmare of occupation permanent.”
Intending to redefine the Israeli border and officially increase the amount of land the nation considers under its sovereignty, this plan has faced international condemnation from many of the world’s leading regulatory bodies, including the European Union and the Arab League. In a virtual emergency Arab League session on Thursday, the UAE warned of the “dangerous repercussions” this “unacceptable” action could catalyze in the entire region, citing it “is a dangerous development that would undermine international efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict” and “impedes the peace process”.
The UAE also appealed to the rest of the foreign world to “fulfill its responsibility in calling for an end to all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”—a plea Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh mirrored during an online briefing this week, urging European countries to instill pressure on Israel through economic sanctions and other significant consequences. “Annexation of the West Bank is part of the systematic destruction of a future Palestinian state, but not only that,” said Shtayyeh. “It is an existential threat to Palestinians as a people.”