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'Crime against humanity': Worldwide Jewish studies scholars oppose Israeli annexation in open letter

Israel could begin implementing annexations as soon as 1 July [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 June, 2020

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Hundreds of Jewish studies scholars signed an open letter condemning Israel's annexation plans.
Hundreds of Jewish studies scholars have signed an open letter denouncing Israel's annexation plans, calling them a "crime against humanity".

The statement said the signatories are academics from across the Americas, Europe and Israel who represent a "spectrum of viewpoints" but oppose Israel's intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, which they say would formally create "apartheid-like conditions" in Israel and Palestine.

"The most likely outcomes of annexation will be further unequal distribution of land and water resources on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements, more state violence, and fragmented Palestinian enclaves under complete Israeli control," the letter reads.

"Under these conditions, annexation of Palestinian territories will cement into place an anti-democratic system of separate and unequal law and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian population," it adds.

The statement said the impact of annexation will be a "destructive intensification of political polarization, hatred and mutual recrimination, and deepening wedges in Jewish society, an inevitable spike in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and polarization between minority communities".

"At this still uncertain and dangerous historical inflection point, we reject annexation and apartheid, racism and hatred, occupation and discrimination," the letter concluded. "We commit ourselves to an open culture of learning, cooperation, and criticism in relation to Israel and Palestine."

Israel's plans to annex approximately one third of the West Bank was greenlighted by US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century". The plan also envisages the creation of a severely restricted Palestinian state.

The Palestinians have rejected the plan outright, while world leaders have urged Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt annexation plans.

In a rare op-ed published by an Israeli newspaper, the UAE's ambassador to the US wrote that Israeli annexation would sever any prospects of normalisation with Arab countries.

This week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that AIPAC - the leading pro-Israel lobby in the US - has told American lawmakers that it will not push back on criticism of Israel's annexation plans, despite the group's fervent opposition to criticism of Israel.

Last week, 40 prominent British Jews 
signed an open letter to Israel's ambassador to the UK condemning the annexation plans.

Israel could begin implementing annexations as soon as 1 July.

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