Israeli fighter jets carried out several airstrikes on the Gaza Strip Wednesday, with Israel’s army announcing an increased presence in the West Bank and around Gaza.
This as President Donald Trump’s controversial peace plan continue to spark outrage among Palestinians and beyond.
It’s reported that successive airstrikes were carried out in southern and northern Gaza Strip, with Israeli warplanes hovering over Gaza. Several explosions were heard. There has yet been no word on casualties or injuries.
Israel’s hawkish defense minister Naftali Bennett, called for Israel to establish sovereignty over nearly a third of the occupied West Bank, seemingly emboldened by Trump’s plan.
“Last night history knocked on the door of our home and gave us a one-time opportunity to apply Israeli law on all settlements in Samaria, Judea, the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea,” Bennett said, using the Hebrew names for areas in the West Bank occupied by Israel.
He had ordered a team to be set up to apply Israeli law and sovereignty on all Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
In London, during an urgent debate in the British Parliament on Trump’s plan, Shadow foreign secretary and Labour MP Emily Thornberry said Trump and Netanyahu “only cared about their own futures” as she strongly criticised the document.
“This is not a peace plan, it is a monstrosity,” she said.
Trump has proposed what he says is a “realistic” two-state solution, but his plan is widely viewed as overwhelmingly supportive of Israeli goals and drafted with no Palestinian input, effectively giving the Jewish state the green light to annex key parts of the occupied West Bank.
It was widely cheered in Israel, but sparked fury among Palestinians who dubbed it the ‘apartheid plan.’
The 80-page proposal, which Trump dubbed ‘The deal of the Century,’ is expected to be voted on by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the coming weeks.
“We believe that the Trump plan, (or) the Trump-(Benjamin) Netanyahu plan, which is an attempt to destroy the national rights of the Palestinian people, will fail,” Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.
“We will try our best with our friends to have the strongest possible draft resolution and to receive the strongest and largest possible voting in favor of that resolution,” he added.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would address and also vote on the draft.
“Of course we would like to see a strong, large opposition to this Trump plan,” Mansour said, backed up by Tunisian UN Ambassador Moncef Baati whose country is currently serving a two-year term on the UNSC.
Trump, who unveiled his plan Tuesday alongside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his initiative could succeed where others had failed.
But critics say the plan grants Israel much of what it has sought in decades of international diplomacy, namely control over Jerusalem as its “undivided” capital, rather than a city to share with the Palestinians.
It also offers US approval for Israel to annex the strategically crucial Jordan Valley, which accounts for around 30 percent of the West Bank, as well as other Jewish settlements in the territory.
Hamas said it could never accept anything short of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.