The former head of Israel’s internal spy service, Shin Bet, has warned against the Tel Aviv regime’s plans to annex the strategically sensitive Area C of the occupied West Bank, stating that such a move would lead to “an unnecessary bloodbath.”
“Steps should be taken to reduce the occupation in the West Bank, improve transportation, improve work, and transfer areas from Area B to Area A, which is entirely under the control of the Palestinian Authority,” Yoram Cohen told Army Radio on Thursday.
He urged the Israeli regime to adopt proper measures “to minimize the [impact] of the occupation in Judea and Samaria.”
Cohen highlighted that his warning also includes any sovereignty attempts in Area C.
“The annexation of Judea and Samaria is the central topic that the Israeli public needs to discuss” so it can weigh the options it wants, he said.
Judea and Samaria presents a challenge to Israel that is a hundred times greater than the threat from Gaza. This is from security, strategic, economic and international relations perspectives, Cohen pointed out.
The remarks came as Israeli officials have recently approved the construction of 6,000 new settler homes in the West Bank’s Area C, where the Israeli army has full control over the management of resources, planning and construction, and strictly limits Palestinian construction or development to less than one percent of the area.
Area C accounts for more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, and would form a significant part of a future Palestine state under the so-called two-state solution.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Palestinians do not need permission from the occupying regime of Israel to build homes on their own homeland.
Shatayyeh highlighted that the Israeli officials’ approval for the construction of 700 new homes for Palestinians in Area C is nothing but an attempt by the Tel Aviv regime “to mislead the international community as it continues to demolish and destroy Palestinian homes and livelihoods and to further expand its settlements.”
“The terminology of “A, B, C” does no longer exist as Israel has in effect violated and terminated the Oslo interim agreement,” he pointed out.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15, 2017.